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Title: Milton's Comus
Author: Milton, John, 1608-1674
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Milton's Comus" ***

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by Case Western Reserve University Preservation Department
Digital Library)

{Transcriber's note:
    ~Bold~ text is surrounded by tildes ~, _italic_ text by underscores _.
    The use of  é and è to indicate stresses is inconsistent in this
      text, as is the use of œ and æ ligatures. No changes have
      been made to the original.





  [_All rights reserved_]

  First Edition, 1890.
  Reprinted, 1891.


  INTRODUCTION,                               vii
  COMUS,                                        7
  NOTES,                                       38
  INDEX TO THE NOTES,                         113


Few poems have been more variously designated than _Comus_. Milton
himself describes it simply as "A Mask"; by others it has been
criticised and estimated as a lyrical drama, a drama in the epic style,
a lyric poem in the _form_ of a play, a phantasy, an allegory, a
philosophical poem, a suite of speeches or majestic soliloquies, and
even a didactic poem. Such variety in the description of the poem is
explained partly by its complex charm and many-sided interest, and
partly by the desire to describe it from that point of view which should
best reconcile its literary form with what we know of the genius and
powers of its author. Those who, like Dr. Johnson, have blamed it as a
drama, have admired it "as a series of lines," or as a lyric; one
writer, who has found that its characters are nothing, its sentiments
tedious, its story uninteresting, has nevertheless "doubted whether
there will ever be any similar poem which gives so true a conception of
the capacity and the dignity of the mind by which it was produced"
(Bagehot's _Literary Studies_). Some who have praised it as an allegory
see in it a satire on the evils both of the Church and of the State,
while others regard it as alluding to the vices of the Court alone. Some
have found its lyrical parts the best, while others, charmed with its
"divine philosophy," have commended those deep conceits which place it
alongside of the _Faerie Queen_, as shadowing forth an episode in the
education of a noble soul and as a poet's lesson against intemperance
and impurity. But no one can refuse to admit that, more than any other
of Milton's shorter poems, it gives us an insight into the peculiar
genius and character of its author: it was, in the opinion of Hallam,
"sufficient to convince any one of taste and feeling that a great poet
had arisen in England, and one partly formed in a different school from
his contemporaries." It is true that in the early poems we do not find
the whole of Milton, for he had yet to pass through many years of
trouble and controversy; but _Comus_, in a special degree, reveals or
foreshadows much of the Milton of _Paradise Lost_. Whether we regard its
place in Milton's life, in the series of his works, or in English
literature as a whole, the poem is full of significance: it is worth
while, therefore, to consider how its form was determined by the
external circumstances and previous training of the poet; by his
favourite studies in poetry, philosophy, history, and music; and by his
noble theory of life in general, and of a poet's life in particular.

The mask was represented at Ludlow Castle on September 29th, 1634; it
was probably composed early in that year. It belongs, therefore, to that
group of poems (_L'Allegro_, _Il Penseroso_, _Arcades_, _Comus_, and
_Lycidas_) written by Milton while living in his father's house at
Horton, near Windsor, after having left the University of Cambridge in
July, 1632. As he was born in 1608, he would be twenty-five years of age
when this poem was composed. During his stay at Horton (1632-39), which
was broken only by a journey to Italy in 1638-9, he was chiefly occupied
with the study of the Greek, Roman, Italian, and English literatures,
each of which has left its impress on _Comus_. He read widely and
carefully, and it has been said that his great and original imagination
was almost entirely nourished, or at least stimulated, by books: his
residence at Horton was, accordingly, pre-eminently what he intended it
to be, and what his father wisely and gladly permitted it to be--a time
of preparation and ripening for the work to which he had dedicated
himself. We are reminded of his own words in _Comus_:

                    And Wisdom's self
    Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude,
    Where, with her best nurse, Contemplation,
    She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings,
    That, in the various bustle of resort,
    Were all to-ruffled, and sometimes impaired.

We find in _Comus_ abundant reminiscences of Milton's study of the
literature of antiquity. "It would not be too much to say that the
literature of antiquity was to Milton's genius what soil and light are
to a plant. It nourished, it coloured, it developed it. It determined
not merely his character as an artist, but it exercised an influence on
his intellect and temper scarcely less powerful than hereditary
instincts and contemporary history. It at once animated and chastened
his imagination; it modified his fancy; it furnished him with his
models. On it his taste was formed; on it his style was moulded. From it
his diction and his method derived their peculiarities. It transformed
what would in all probability have been the mere counterpart of
Caedmon's Paraphrase or Langland's Vision into Paradise Lost; and what
would have been the mere counterpart of Corydon's Doleful Knell and the
satire of the Three Estates, into Lycidas and Comus." (_Quarterly
Review_, No. 326.)

But Milton has also told us that Spenser was his master, and the full
charm of _Comus_ cannot be realised without reference to the artistic
and philosophical spirit of the author of the _Faerie Queene_. Both
poems deal with the war between the body and the soul--between the lower
and the higher nature. In an essay on 'Spenser as a philosophic poet,'
De Vere says: "The perils and degradations of an animalised life are
shown under the allegory of Sir Guyon's sea voyage with its successive
storms and whirlpools, its 'rock of Reproach' strewn with wrecks and
dead men's bones, its 'wandering islands,' its 'quicksands of
Unthriftihead,' its 'whirlepoole of Decay,' its 'sea-monsters,' and
lastly, its 'bower of Bliss,' and the doom which overtakes it, together
with the deliverance of Acrasia's victims, transformed by that witch's
spells into beasts. Still more powerful is the allegory of worldly
ambition, illustrated under the name of 'the cave of Mammon.' The Legend
of Holiness delineates with not less insight those enemies which wage
war upon the spiritual life." All this Milton had studied in the _Faerie
Queene_, and had understood it; and, like Sir Guyon, he felt himself to
be a knight enrolled under the banner of Parity and Self-Control. So
that, in _Comus_, we find the sovereign value of Temperance or
Self-Regulation--what the Greeks called σωφροσύνη--set forth
no less clearly than in Spenser's poem: in Milton's mask it becomes
almost identical with Virtue itself. The enchantments of Acrasia in her
Bower of Bliss become the spells of Comus; the armour of Belphoebe
becomes the "complete steel" of Chastity; while the supremacy of
Conscience, the bounty of Nature and man's ingratitude, the unloveliness
of Mammon and of Excess, the blossom of Courtesy oft found on lowly
stalk, and the final triumph of Virtue through striving and temptation,
all are dwelt upon.

    It is the mind that maketh good or ill,
    That maketh wretch or happie, rich or poore:

so speaks Spenser; and Milton similarly--

    He that has light within his own clear breast
    May sit i' the centre, and enjoy bright day:
    But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts
    Benighted walks under the mid-day sun;
    Himself is his own dungeon.

In endeavouring still further to trace, by means of verbal or structural
resemblances, the sources from which Milton drew his materials for
_Comus_, critics have referred to Peele's _Old Wives' Tale_ (1595); to
Fletcher's pastoral, _The Faithful Shepherdess_, of which Charles Lamb
has said that if all its parts 'had been in unison with its many
innocent scenes and sweet lyric intermixtures, it had been a poem fit to
vie with _Comus_ or the _Arcadia_, to have been put into the hands of
boys and virgins, to have made matter for young dreams, like the loves
of Hermia and Lysander'; to Ben Jonson's mask of _Pleasure reconciled to
Virtue_ (1619), in which Comus is "the god of cheer, or the Belly"; and
to the _Comus_ of Erycius Puteanus (Henri du Puy), Professor of
Eloquence at Louvain. It is true that Fletcher's pastoral was being
acted in London about the time Milton was writing his _Comus_, that the
poem by the Dutch Professor was republished at Oxford in 1634, and that
resemblances are evident between Milton's poem and those named. But
Professor Masson does well in warning us that "infinitely too much has
been made of such coincidences. After all of them, even the most ideal
and poetical, the feeling in reading _Comus_ is that all here is
different, all peculiar." Whatever Milton borrowed, he borrowed, as he
says himself, in order to better it.

It is interesting to consider the mutual relations of the poems written
by Milton at Horton. Everything that Milton wrote is Miltonic; he had
what has been called the power of transforming everything into himself,
and these poems are, accordingly, evidences of the development of
Milton's opinions and of his secret purpose. It has been said that
_L'Allegro_ and _Il Penseroso_ are to be regarded as "the pleadings, the
decision on which is in Comus"--_L'Allegro_ representing the Cavalier,
and _Il Penseroso_ the Puritan element. This is true only in a limited
sense. It is true that the Puritan element in the Horton series of poems
becomes more patent as we pass from the two lyrics to the mask of
_Comus_, and from _Comus_ to the elegy of _Lycidas_, just as, in the
corresponding periods of time, the evils connected with the reign of
Charles I. and with Laud's crusade against Puritanism were becoming more
pronounced. But we can hardly regard Milton as having expressed any new
decision in _Comus_: the decision is already made when "vain deluding
Joys" are banished in _Il Penseroso_, and "loathed Melancholy" in
_L'Allegro_. The mask is an expansion and exaltation of the delights of
the contemplative man, but there is still a place for the "unreproved
pleasures" of the cheerful man. Unless it were so, _Comus_ could not
have been written; there would have been no "sunshine holiday" for the
rustics and no "victorious dance" for the gentle lady and her brothers.
But in _Comus_ we realise the mutual relation of _L'Allegro_ and _Il
Penseroso_; we see their application to the joys and sorrows of the
actual life of individuals; we observe human nature in contact with the
"hard assays" of life. And, subsequently, in _Lycidas_ we are made to
realise that this human nature is Milton's own, and to understand how it
was that his Puritanism which, three years before, had permitted him to
write a cavalier mask, should, three years after, lead him from the
fresh fields of poetry into the barren plains of controversial prose.

The Mask was a favourite form of entertainment in England in Milton's
youth, and had been so from the time of Henry VIII., in whose reign
elaborate masked shows, introduced from Italy, first became popular. But
they seem to have found their way into England, in a crude form, even
earlier; and we read of court disguisings in the reign of Edward III. It
is usually said that the Mask derives its name from the fact that the
actors wore masks, and in Hall's Chronicle we read that, in 1512, "on
the day of Epiphany at night, the king, with eleven others, was
disguised after the manner of Italy, called a Mask, a thing not seen
before in England; they were appareled in garments long and broad,
wrought all with gold, with _visors_ and caps of gold." The truth,
however, seems to be that the use of a visor was not essential in such
entertainments, which, from the first, were called 'masks,' the word
'masker' being used sometimes of the players, and sometimes of their
disguises. The word has come to us, through the French form _masque_,
cognate with Spanish _mascarada_, a masquerade or assembly of maskers,
otherwise called a mummery. Up to the time of Henry VIII. these
entertainments were of the nature of dumb-show or _tableaux vivants_,
and delighted the spectators chiefly by the splendour of the costumes
and machinery employed in their representation; but, afterwards, the
chief actors spoke their parts, singing and dancing were introduced, and
the composition of masks for royal and other courtly patrons became an
occupation worthy of a poet. They were frequently combined with other
forms of amusement, all of which were, in the case of the Court, placed
under the management of a Master of Revels, whose official title was
Magister Jocorum, Revellorum et _Mascorum_; in the first printed English
tragedy, _Gorboduc_ (1565), each act opens with what is called a
dumb-show or mask. But the more elaborate form of the Mask soon grew to
be an entertainment complete in itself, and the demand for such became
so great in the time of James I. and Charles I. that the history of
these reigns might almost be traced in the succession of masks then
written. Ben Jonson, who thoroughly established the Mask in English
literature, wrote many Court Masks, and made them a vehicle less for the
display of 'painting and carpentry' than for the expression of the
intellectual and social life of his time. His masks are excelled only
by _Comus_, and possess in a high degree that 'Doric delicacy' in their
songs and odes which Sir Henry Wotton found so ravishing in Milton's
mask. Jonson, in his lifetime, declared that, next himself, only
Fletcher and Chapman could write a mask; and apart from the compositions
of these writers and of William Browne (_Inner Temple Masque_), there
are few specimens worthy to be named along with Jonson's until we come
to Milton's _Arcades_. Other mask-writers were Middleton, Dekker,
Shirley, Carew, and Davenant; and it is interesting to note that in
Carew's _Coelum Brittanicum_ (1633-4), for which Lawes composed the
music, the two boys who afterwards acted in _Comus_ had juvenile parts.
It has been pointed out that the popularity of the Mask in Milton's
youth received a stimulus from the Puritan hatred of the theatre which
found expression at that time, and drove non-Puritans to welcome the
Mask as a protest against that spirit which saw nothing but evil in
every form of dramatic entertainment. Milton, who enjoyed the
theatre--both "Jonson's learned sock" and what "ennobled hath the
buskined stage"--was led, through his friendship with the musician
Lawes, to compose a mask to celebrate the entry of the Earl of
Bridgewater upon his office of "Lord President of the Council in the
Principality of Wales and the Marches of the same." He had already
written, also at the request of Lawes, a mask, or portion of a mask,
called _Arcades_, and the success of this may have stimulated him to
higher effort. The result was _Comus_, in which the Mask reached its
highest level, and after which it practically faded out of our

Milton's two masks, _Arcades_ and _Comus_, were written for members of
the same noble family, the former in honour of the Countess Dowager of
Derby, and the latter in honour of John, first Earl of Bridgewater, who
was both her stepson and son-in-law. This two-fold relation arose from
the fact that the Earl was the son of Viscount Brackley, the Countess's
second husband, and had himself married Lady Frances Stanley, a daughter
of the Countess by her first husband, the fifth Earl of Derby. Amongst
the children of the Earl of Bridgewater were three who took important
parts in the representation of _Comus_--Alice, the youngest daughter,
then about fourteen years of age, who appeared as _The Lady_; John,
Viscount Brackley, who took the part of the _Elder Brother_, and Thomas
Egerton, who appeared as the _Second Brother_. We do not know who acted
the parts of _Comus_ and _Sabrina_, but the part of the _Attendant
Spirit_ was taken by Henry Lawes, "gentleman of the Chapel Royal, and
one of His Majesty's private musicians." The Earl's children were his
pupils, and the mask was naturally produced under his direction.
Milton's friendship with Lawes is shown by the sonnet which the poet
addressed to the musician:

    Harry, whose tuneful and well measur'd song
      First taught our English music how to span
      Words with just note and accent, not to scan
      With Midas' ears, committing short and long;
    Thy worth and skill exempts thee from the throng,
      With praise enough for Envy to look wan;
      To after age thou shalt be writ the man,
    That with smooth air could'st humour best our tongue.
    Thou honour'st Verse, and Verse must lend her wing
      To honour thee, the priest of Phoebus' quire,
      That tun'st their happiest lines in hymn, or story.
    Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee higher
      Than his Casella, who he woo'd to sing,
      Met in the milder shades of Purgatory.

We must remember also that it was to Lawes that Milton's _Comus_ owed
its first publication, and, as we see from the dedication prefixed to
the text, that he was justly proud of his share in its first

Such were the persons who appeared in Milton's mask; they are few in
number, and the plan of the piece is correspondingly simple. There are
three scenes which may be briefly characterised thus:

    I. The Tempter and the Tempted: lines 1-658.
       _Scene_: A wild wood.

   II. The Temptation and the Rescue: lines 659-958.
       _Scene_: The Palace of Comus.

  III. The Triumph: lines 959-1023.
       _Scene_: The President's Castle.

In the first scene, after a kind of prologue (lines 1-92), the interest
rises as we are introduced first to Comus and his rout, then to the Lady
alone and "night-foundered," and finally to Comus and the Lady in
company. At the same time the nature of the Lady's trial and her
subsequent victory are foreshadowed in a conversation between the
brothers and the attendant Spirit. This is one of the more Miltonic
parts of the mask: in the philosophical reasoning of the elder brother,
as opposed to the matter-of-fact arguments of the younger, we trace the
young poet fresh from the study of the divine volume of Plato, and
filled with a noble trust in God. In the second scene we breathe the
unhallowed air of the abode of the wily tempter, who endeavours, "under
fair pretence of friendly ends," to wind himself into the pure heart of
the Lady. But his "gay rhetoric" is futile against the "sun-clad power
of chastity"; and he is driven off the scene by the two brothers, who
are led and instructed by the Spirit disguised as the shepherd Thyrsis.
But the Lady, having been lured into the haunt of impurity, is left
spell-bound, and appeal is made to the pure nymph Sabrina, who is "swift
to aid a virgin, such as was herself, in hard-besetting need." It is in
the contention between Comus and the Lady in this scene that the
interest of the mask may be said to culminate, for here its purpose
stands revealed: "it is a song to Temperance as the ground of Freedom,
to temperance as the guard of all the virtues, to beauty as secured by
temperance, and its central point and climax is in the pleading of these
motives by the Lady against their opposites in the mouth of the Lord of
sensual Revel." _Milton: Classical Writers_. In the third scene the Lady
Alice and her brothers are presented by the Spirit to their noble father
and mother as triumphing "in victorious dance o'er sensual folly and
intemperance." The Spirit then speaks the epilogue, calling upon mortals
who love true freedom to strive after virtue:

    Love Virtue; she alone is free.
    She can teach ye how to climb
    Higher than the sphery chime;
    Or, if Virtue feeble were,
    Heaven itself would stoop to her.

The last couplet Milton afterwards, on his Italian journey, entered in
an album belonging to an Italian named Cerdogni, and underneath it the
words, _Coelum non animum muto dum trans mare curro_, and his
signature, Joannes Miltonius, Anglus. The juxtaposition of these verses
is significant: though he had left his own land Milton had not become
what, fifty or sixty years before, Roger Ascham had condemned as an
"Italianated Englishman." He was one of those "worthy Gentlemen of
England, whom all the Siren tongues of Italy could never untwine from
the mast of God's word; nor no enchantment of vanity overturn them from
the fear of God and love of honesty" (Ascham's _Scholemaster_). And one
might almost infer that Milton, in his account of the sovereign plant
Haemony which was to foil the wiles of _Comus_, had remembered not only
Homer's description of the root Moly "that Hermes once to wise Ulysses
gave,"{16:A} but also Ascham's remarks thereupon: "The true medicine
against the enchantments of Circe, the vanity of licentious pleasure,
the enticements of all sin, is, in Homer, the herb Moly, with the black
root and white flower, sour at first, but sweet in the end; which Hesiod
termeth the study of Virtue, hard and irksome in the beginning, but in
the end easy and pleasant. And that which is most to be marvelled at,
the divine poet Homer saith plainly that this medicine against sin and
vanity is not found out by man, but given and taught by God." Milton's
_Comus_, like his last great poems, is a poetical expression of the same
belief. "His poetical works, the outcome of his inner life, his life of
artistic contemplation, are," in the words of Prof. Dowden, "various
renderings of one dominant idea--that the struggle for mastery between
good and evil is the prime fact of life; and that a final victory of the
righteous cause is assured by the existence of a divine order of the
universe, which Milton knew by the name of 'Providence.'"


{16:A} It is noteworthy that Lamb, whose allusiveness is remarkable,
employs in his account of the plant Moly almost the exact words of
Milton's description of Haemony; compare the following extract from _The
Adventures of Ulysses_ with lines 629-640 of _Comus_: "The flower of the
herb Moly, which is sovereign against enchantments: the moly is a small
unsightly root, its virtues but little known, and in low estimation; the
dull shepherd treads on it every day with his clouted shoes, but it
bears a small white flower, which is medicinal against charms, blights,
mildews, and damps."







_The Copy of a Letter written by Sir Henry Wotton to the Author upon the
following Poem._

From the College, this 13 of April, 1638.


It was a special favour, when you lately bestowed upon me here the first
taste of your acquaintance, though no longer than to make me know that I
wanted more time to value it, and to enjoy it rightly; and, in truth, if
I could then have imagined your farther stay in these parts, which I
understood afterwards by Mr. H., I would have been bold, in our vulgar
phrase, to mend my draught (for you left me with an extreme thirst), and
to have begged your conversation again, jointly with your said learned
friend, at a poor meal or two, that we might have banded together some
good authors of the antient time; among which I observed you to have
been familiar.

Since your going, you have charged me with new obligations, both for a
very kind letter from you dated the sixth of this month, and for a
dainty piece of entertainment which came therewith. Wherein I should
much commend the tragical part, if the lyrical did not ravish me with a
certain Doric delicacy in your songs and odes, whereunto I must plainly
confess to have seen yet nothing parallel in our language: _Ipsa
mollities_.{19:A} But I must not omit to tell you, that I now only owe
you thanks for intimating unto me (how modestly soever) the true
artificer. For the work itself I had viewed some good while before, with
singular delight, having received it from our common friend Mr. R. in
the very close of the late R.'s poems, printed at Oxford; whereunto it
is added (as I now suppose) that the accessory might help out the
principal, according to the art of stationers, and to leave the reader
_con la bocca dolce_.{20:A}

Now, Sir, concerning your travels, wherein I may challenge a little more
privilege of discourse with you; I suppose you will not blanch{20:B}
Paris in your way; therefore I have been bold to trouble you with a few
lines to Mr. M. B., whom you shall easily find attending the young Lord
S. as his governor, and you may surely receive from him good directions
for shaping of your farther journey into Italy, where he did reside by
my choice some time for the king, after mine own recess from Venice.

I should think that your best line will be through the whole length of
France to Marseilles, and thence by sea to Genoa, whence the passage
into Tuscany is as diurnal as a Gravesend barge. I hasten, as you do, to
Florence, or Siena, the rather to tell you a short story, from the
interest you have given me in your safety.

At Siena I was tabled in the house of one Alberto Scipione, an old Roman
courtier in dangerous times, having been steward to the Duca di
Pagliano, who with all his family were strangled, save this only man,
that escaped by foresight of the tempest. With him I had often much chat
of those affairs; into which he took pleasure to look back from his
native harbour; and at my departure toward Rome (which had been the
centre of his experience) I had won confidence enough to beg his advice,
how I might carry myself securely there, without offence of others, or
of mine own conscience. _Signor Arrigo mio_ (says he), _I pensieri
stretti, ed il viso sciolto_,{21:A} will go safely over the whole world.
Of which Delphian oracle (for so I have found it) your judgment doth
need no commentary; and therefore, Sir, I will commit you with it to the
best of all securities, God's dear love, remaining

                                         Your friend as much to command
                                         as any of longer date,

                                         HENRY WOTTON.


Sir,--I have expressly sent this my footboy to prevent your departure
without some acknowledgment from me of the receipt of your obliging
letter, having myself through some business, I know not how, neglected
the ordinary conveyance. In any part where I shall understand you fixed,
I shall be glad and diligent to entertain you with home-novelties, even
for some fomentation of our friendship, too soon interrupted in the


{19:A} It is delicacy itself.

{20:A} With a sweet taste in his mouth (so that he may desire more).

{20:B} Avoid.

{21:A} "Thoughts close, countenance open."

{21:B} This letter was printed in the edition of 1645, but omitted in
that of 1673. It was written by Sir Henry Wotton, Provost of Eton
College, just in time to overtake Milton before he set out on his
journey to Italy. As a parting act of courtesy Milton had sent Sir Henry
a letter with a copy of Lawes's edition of his _Comus_, and the above
letter is an acknowledgment of the favour.



_Son and Heir-Apparent to the Earl of Bridgewater, etc._


This Poem, which received its first occasion of birth from yourself and
others of your noble family, and much honour from your own person in the
performance, now returns again to make a final Dedication of itself to
you. Although not openly acknowledged by the Author, yet it is a
legitimate offspring, so lovely and so much desired that the often
copying of it hath tired my pen to give my several friends satisfaction,
and brought me to a necessity of producing it to the public view; and
now to offer it up, in all rightful devotion, to those fair hopes and
rare endowments of your much-promising youth, which give a full
assurance to all that know you, of a future excellence. Live, sweet
Lord, to be the honour of your name, and receive this as your own, from
the hands of him who hath by many favours been long obliged to your most
honoured Parents, and as in this representation your attendant
_Thyrsis_,{22:B} so now in all real expression,

                                Your faithful and most humble Servant,

                                H. LAWES.


{22:A} Dedication of the anonymous edition of 1637: reprinted in the
edition of 1645, but omitted in that of 1673.

{22:B} See Notes, line 494.


  The ATTENDANT SPIRIT, afterwards in the habit of THYRSIS.
  COMUS, with his Crew.
  The LADY.
  SABRINA, the Nymph.

  The Chief Persons which presented were:--
      The Lord Brackley;
      Mr. Thomas Egerton, his Brother;
      The Lady Alice Egerton.


_The first Scene discovers a wild wood._

_The ATTENDANT SPIRIT descends or enters._

    Before the starry threshold of Jove's court
    My mansion is, where those immortal shapes
    Of bright aërial spirits live insphered
    In regions mild of calm and serene air,
    Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot
    Which men call Earth, and, with low-thoughted care,
    Confined and pestered in this pinfold here,
    Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being,
    Unmindful of the crown that Virtue gives,
    After this mortal change, to her true servants                    10
    Amongst the enthroned gods on sainted seats.
    Yet some there be that by due steps aspire
    To lay their just hands on that golden key
    That opes the palace of eternity.
    To such my errand is; and, but for such,
    I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds
    With the rank vapours of this sin-worn mould.
      But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway
    Of every salt flood and each ebbing stream,
    Took in by lot, 'twixt high and nether Jove,                      20
    Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles
    That, like to rich and various gems, inlay
    The unadornéd bosom of the deep;
    Which he, to grace his tributary gods,
    By course commits to several government,
    And gives them leave to wear their sapphire crowns
    And wield their little tridents. But this Isle,
    The greatest and the best of all the main,
    He quarters to his blue-haired deities;
    And all this tract that fronts the falling sun                    30
    A noble Peer of mickle trust and power
    Has in his charge, with tempered awe to guide
    An old and haughty nation, proud in arms:
    Where his fair offspring, nursed in princely lore,
    Are coming to attend their father's state,
    And new-intrusted sceptre. But their way
    Lies through the perplexed paths of this drear wood,
    The nodding horror of whose shady brows
    Threats the forlorn and wandering passenger;
    And here their tender age might suffer peril,                     40
    But that, by quick command from sovran Jove,
    I was despatched for their defence and guard:
    And listen why; for I will tell you now
    What never yet was heard in tale or song,
    From old or modern bard, in hall or bower.
      Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape
    Crushed the sweet poison of misuséd wine,
    After the Tuscan mariners transformed,
    Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed,
    On Circe's island fell: (who knows not Circe,                     50
    The daughter of the Sun, whose charmèd cup
    Whoever tasted lost his upright shape,
    And downward fell into a grovelling swine?)
    This Nymph, that gazed upon his clustering locks,
    With ivy berries wreathed, and his blithe youth,
    Had by him, ere he parted thence, a son
    Much like his father, but his mother more,
    Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus named:
    Who, ripe and frolic of his full-grown age,
    Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields,                             60
    At last betakes him to this ominous wood,
    And, in thick shelter of black shades imbowered,
    Excels his mother at her mighty art;
    Offering to every weary traveller
    His orient liquor in a crystal glass,
    To quench the drouth of Phœbus; which as they taste
    (For most do taste through fond intemperate thirst),
    Soon as the potion works, their human count'nance,
    The express resemblance of the gods, is changed
    Into some brutish form of wolf or bear,                           70
    Or ounce or tiger, hog, or bearded goat,
    All other parts remaining as they were.
    And they, so perfect is their misery,
    Not once perceive their foul disfigurement,
    But boast themselves more comely than before,
    And all their friends and native home forget,
    To roll with pleasure in a sensual sty.
    Therefore, when any favoured of high Jove
    Chances to pass through this adventurous glade,
    Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star                           80
    I shoot from heaven, to give him safe convoy,
    As now I do. But first I must put off
    These my sky-robes, spun out of Iris' woof,
    And take the weeds and likeness of a swain
    That to the service of this house belongs,
    Who, with his soft pipe and smooth-dittied song,
    Well knows to still the wild winds when they roar,
    And hush the waving woods; nor of less faith,
    And in this office of his mountain watch
    Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid                         90
    Of this occasion. But I hear the tread
    Of hateful steps; I must be viewless now.

_COMUS enters, with a charming-rod in one hand, his glass in the other;
with him a rout of monsters, headed like sundry sorts of wild beasts,
but otherwise like men and women, their apparel glistering. They come in
making a riotous and unruly noise, with torches in their hands._

    _Comus._ The star that bids the shepherd fold
    Now the top of heaven doth hold;
    And the gilded car of day
    His glowing axle doth allay
    In the steep Atlantic stream;
    And the slope sun his upward beam
    Shoots against the dusky pole,
    Pacing toward the other goal                                     100
    Of his chamber in the east.
    Meanwhile, welcome joy and feast,
    Midnight shout and revelry,
    Tipsy dance and jollity.
    Braid your locks with rosy twine,
    Dropping odours, dropping wine.
    Rigour now is gone to bed;
    And Advice with scrupulous head,
    Strict Age, and sour Severity,
    With their grave saws, in slumber lie.                           110
    We, that are of purer fire,
    Imitate the starry quire,
    Who, in their nightly watchful spheres,
    Lead in swift round the months and years.
    The sounds and seas, with all their finny drove,
    Now to the moon in wavering morrice move;
    And on the tawny sands and shelves
    Trip the pert fairies and the dapper elves.
    By dimpled brook and fountain-brim,
    The wood-nymphs, decked with daisies trim,                       120
    Their merry wakes and pastimes keep:
    What hath night to do with sleep?
    Night hath better sweets to prove;
    Venus now wakes, and wakens Love.
    Come, let us our rights begin;
    'Tis only daylight that makes sin,
    Which these dun shades will ne'er report.
    Hail, goddess of nocturnal sport,
    Dark-veiled Cotytto, to whom the secret flame
    Of midnight torches burns! mysterious dame,                      130
    That ne'er art called but when the dragon womb
    Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom,
    And makes one blot of all the air!
    Stay thy cloudy ebon chair,
    Wherein thou ridest with Hecat', and befriend
    Us thy vowed priests, till utmost end
    Of all thy dues be done, and none left out,
    Ere the blabbing eastern scout,
    The nice Morn on the Indian steep,
    From her cabined loop-hole peep,                                 140
    And to the tell-tale Sun descry
    Our concealed solemnity.
    Come, knit hands, and beat the ground
    In a light fantastic round.           [_The Measure._
      Break off, break off! I feel the different pace
    Of some chaste footing near about this ground.
    Run to your shrouds within these brakes and trees;
    Our number may affright. Some virgin sure
    (For so I can distinguish by mine art)
    Benighted in these woods! Now to my charms,                      150
    And to my wily trains: I shall ere long
    Be well stocked with as fair a herd as grazed
    About my mother Circe. Thus I hurl
    My dazzling spells into the spongy air,
    Of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion,
    And give it false presentments, lest the place
    And my quaint habits breed astonishment,
    And put the damsel to suspicious flight;
    Which must not be, for that's against my course.
    I, under fair pretence of friendly ends,                         160
    And well-placed words of glozing courtesy,
    Baited with reasons not unplausible,
    Wind me into the easy-hearted man,
    And hug him into snares. When once her eye
    Hath met the virtue of this magic dust,
    I shall appear some harmless villager
    Whom thrift keeps up about his country gear.
    But here she comes; I fairly step aside,
    And hearken, if I may, her business here.

_The LADY enters._

    _Lady._ This way the noise was, if mine ear be true,
    My best guide now. Methought it was the sound
    Of riot and ill-managed merriment,                               172
    Such as the jocund flute or gamesome pipe
    Stirs up among the loose unlettered hinds,
    When, for their teeming flocks and granges full,
    In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan,
    And thank the gods amiss. I should be loth
    To meet the rudeness and swilled insolence
    Of such late wassailers; yet, oh! where else
    Shall I inform my unacquainted feet                              180
    In the blind mazes of this tangled wood?
    My brothers, when they saw me wearied out
    With this long way, resolving here to lodge
    Under the spreading favour of these pines,
    Stepped, as they said, to the next thicket-side
    To bring me berries, or such cooling fruit
    As the kind hospitable woods provide.
    They left me then when the grey-hooded Even,
    Like a sad votarist in palmer's weed,
    Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phœbus' wain.                   190
    But where they are, and why they came not back,
    Is now the labour of my thoughts. 'Tis likeliest
    They had engaged their wandering steps too far;
    And envious darkness, ere they could return,
    Had stole them from me. Else, O thievish Night,
    Why shouldst thou, but for some felonious end,
    In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars
    That Nature hung in heaven, and filled their lamps
    With everlasting oil to give due light
    To the misled and lonely traveller?                              200
    This is the place, as well as I may guess,
    Whence even now the tumult of loud mirth
    Was rife, and perfect in my listening ear;
    Yet nought but single darkness do I find.
    What might this be? A thousand fantasies
    Begin to throng into my memory,
    Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire,
    And airy tongues that syllable men's names
    On sands and shores and desert wildernesses.
    These thoughts may startle well, but not astound                 210
    The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended
    By a strong siding champion, Conscience.
    O, welcome, pure-eyed Faith, white-handed Hope,
    Thou hovering angel girt with golden wings,
    And thou unblemished form of Chastity!
    I see ye visibly, and now believe
    That He, the Supreme Good, to whom all things ill
    Are but as slavish officers of vengeance,
    Would send a glistering guardian, if need were,
    To keep my life and honour unassailed....                        220
    Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud
    Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
    I did not err: there does a sable cloud
    Turn forth her silver lining on the night,
    And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.
    I cannot hallo to my brothers, but
    Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest
    I'll venture; for my new-enlivened spirits
    Prompt me, and they perhaps are not far off.


    Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen                   230
          Within thy airy shell
        By slow Meander's margent green,
    And in the violet-embroidered vale
        Where the love-lorn nightingale
    Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well:
    Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair
        That likest thy Narcissus are?
          O, if thou have
        Hid them in some flowery cave,
          Tell me but where,                                         240
      Sweet Queen of Parley, Daughter of the Sphere!
      So may'st thou be translated to the skies,
    And give resounding grace to all Heaven's harmonies!

    _Comus._ Can any mortal mixture of earth's mould
    Breathe such divine enchanting ravishment?
    Sure something holy lodges in that breast,
    And with these raptures moves the vocal air
    To testify his hidden residence.
    How sweetly did they float upon the wings
    Of silence, through the empty-vaulted night,                     250
    At every fall smoothing the raven down
    Of darkness till it smiled! I have oft heard
    My mother Circe with the Sirens three,
    Amidst the flowery-kirtled Naiades,
    Culling their potent herbs and baleful drugs,
    Who, as they sung, would take the prisoned soul,
    And lap it in Elysium: Scylla wept,
    And chid her barking waves into attention,
    And fell Charybdis murmured soft applause.
    Yet they in pleasing slumber lulled the sense,                   260
    And in sweet madness robbed it of itself;
    But such a sacred and home-felt delight,
    Such sober certainty of waking bliss,
    I never heard till now. I'll speak to her,
    And she shall be my queen.--Hail, foreign wonder!
    Whom certain these rough shades did never breed,
    Unless the goddess that in rural shrine
    Dwell'st here with Pan or Sylvan by blest song
    Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog
    To touch the prosperous growth of this tall wood.                270

    _Lady._ Nay, gentle shepherd, ill is lost that praise
    That is addressed to unattending ears.
    Not any boast of skill, but extreme shift
    How to regain my severed company,
    Compelled me to awake the courteous Echo
    To give me answer from her mossy couch.

    _Comus._ What chance, good Lady, hath bereft you thus?

    _Lady._ Dim darkness and this leafy labyrinth.

    _Comus._ Could that divide you from near-ushering guides?

    _Lady._ They left me weary on a grassy turf.                     280

    _Comus._ By falsehood, or discourtesy, or why?

    _Lady._ To seek i' the valley some cool friendly spring.

    _Comus._ And left your fair side all unguarded, lady?

    _Lady._ They were but twain, and purposed quick return.

    _Comus._ Perhaps forestalling night prevented them.

    _Lady._ How easy my misfortune is to hit!

    _Comus._ Imports their loss, beside the present need?

    _Lady._ No less than if I should my brothers lose.

    _Comus._ Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom?

    _Lady._ As smooth as Hebe's their unrazored lips.                290

    _Comus._ Two such I saw, what time the laboured ox
    In his loose traces from the furrow came,
    And the swinked hedger at his supper sat.
    I saw them under a green mantling vine,
    That crawls along the side of yon small hill,
    Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots;
    Their port was more than human, as they stood
    I took it for a faery vision
    Of some gay creatures of the element,
    That in the colours of the rainbow live,                         300
    And play i' the plighted clouds. I was awe-strook,
    And, as I passed, I worshiped. If those you seek,
    It were a journey like the path to Heaven
    To help you find them.

    _Lady._                Gentle villager,
    What readiest way would bring me to that place?

    _Comus._ Due west it rises from this shrubby point.

    _Lady._ To find out that, good shepherd, I suppose,
    In such a scant allowance of star-light,
    Would overtask the best land-pilot's art,
    Without the sure guess of well-practised feet.                   310

    _Comus._ I know each lane, and every alley green,
    Dingle, or bushy dell, of this wild wood,
    And every bosky bourn from side to side,
    My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood;
    And, if your stray attendance be yet lodged,
    Or shroud within these limits, I shall know
    Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark
    From her thatched pallet rouse. If otherwise,
    I can conduct you, lady, to a low
    But loyal cottage, where you may be safe                         320
    Till further quest.

    _Lady._              Shepherd, I take thy word,
    And trust thy honest-offered courtesy,
    Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds,
    With smoky rafters, than in tapestry halls
    And courts of princes, where it first was named,
    And yet is most pretended. In a place
    Less warranted than this, or less secure,
    I cannot be, that I should fear to change it.
    Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial
    To my proportioned strength! Shepherd, lead on.


_Enter the TWO BROTHERS._

    _Elder Brother._ Unmuffle, ye faint stars; and thou, fair moon,  331
    That wont'st to love the traveller's benison,
    Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud,
    And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here
    In double night of darkness and of shades;
    Or, if your influence be quite dammed up
    With black usurping mists, some gentle taper,
    Though a rush-candle from the wicker hole
    Of some clay habitation, visit us
    With thy long levelled rule of streaming light,                  340
    And thou shalt be our star of Arcady,
    Or Tyrian Cynosure.

    _Second Brother._       Or, if our eyes
    Be barred that happiness, might we but hear
    The folded flocks, penned in their wattled cotes,
    Or sound of pastoral reed with oaten stops,
    Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock
    Count the night-watches to his feathery dames,
    'Twould be some solace yet, some little cheering,
    In this close dungeon of innumerous boughs.
    But, Oh, that hapless virgin, our lost sister!                   350
    Where may she wander now, whither betake her
    From the chill dew, amongst rude burs and thistles?
    Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now,
    Or 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm
    Leans her unpillowed head, fraught with sad fears.
    What if in wild amazement and affright,
    Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp
    Of savage hunger, or of savage heat!

    _Elder Brother._ Peace, brother: be not over-exquisite
    To cast the fashion of uncertain evils;                          360
    For, grant they be so, while they rest unknown,
    What need a man forestall his date of grief,
    And run to meet what he would most avoid?
    Or, if they be but false alarms of fear,
    How bitter is such self-delusion!
    I do not think my sister so to seek,
    Or so unprincipled in virtue's book,
    And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever,
    As that the single want of light and noise
    (Not being in danger, as I trust she is not)                     370
    Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts,
    And put them into misbecoming plight.
    Virtue could see to do what Virtue would
    By her own radiant light, though sun and moon
    Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's self
    Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude,
    Where, with her best nurse, Contemplation,
    She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings,
    That, in the various bustle of resort,
    Were all to-ruffled, and sometimes impaired.                     380
    He that has light within his own clear breast
    May sit i' the centre, and enjoy bright day:
    But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts
    Benighted walks under the mid-day sun;
    Himself is his own dungeon.

    _Second Brother._            'Tis most true
    That musing meditation most affects
    The pensive secrecy of desert cell,
    Far from the cheerful haunt of men and herds,
    And sits as safe as in a senate-house;
    For who would rob a hermit of his weeds,                         390
    His few books, or his beads, or maple dish,
    Or do his grey hairs any violence?
    But Beauty, like the fair Hesperian tree
    Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard
    Of dragon-watch with unenchanted eye
    To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit,
    From the rash hand of bold Incontinence.
    You may as well spread out the unsunned heaps
    Of miser's treasure by an outlaw's den,
    And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope                           400
    Danger will wink on Opportunity,
    And let a single helpless maiden pass
    Uninjured in this wild surrounding waste.
    Of night or loneliness it recks me not;
    I fear the dread events that dog them both,
    Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person
    Of our unownéd sister.

    _Elder Brother._           I do not, brother,
    Infer as if I thought my sister's state
    Secure without all doubt or controversy;
    Yet, where an equal poise of hope and fear                       410
    Does arbitrate the event, my nature is
    That I incline to hope rather than fear,
    And gladly banish squint suspicion.
    My sister is not so defenceless left
    As you imagine; she has a hidden strength,
    Which you remember not.

    _Second Brother._        What hidden strength,
    Unless the strength of Heaven, if you mean that?

    _Elder Brother._ I mean that too, but yet a hidden strength,
    Which, if Heaven gave it, may be termed her own.
    'Tis chastity, my brother, chastity:                             420
    She that has that is clad in cómplete steel,
    And, like a quivered nymph with arrows keen,
    May trace huge forests, and unharboured heaths,
    Infámous hills, and sandy perilous wilds;
    Where, through the sacred rays of chastity,
    No savage fierce, bandite, or mountaineer,
    Will dare to soil her virgin purity.
    Yea, there where very desolation dwells,
    By grots and caverns shagged with horrid shades,
    She may pass on with unblenched majesty,                         430
    Be it not done in pride, or in presumption.
    Some say no evil thing that walks by night,
    In fog or fire, by lake or moorish fen,
    Blue meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost,
    That breaks his magic chains at curfew time,
    No goblin or swart faery of the mine,
    Hath hurtful power o'er true virginity.
    Do ye believe me yet, or shall I call
    Antiquity from the old schools of Greece
    To testify the arms of chastity?                                 440
    Hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow
    Fair silver-shafted queen for ever chaste,
    Wherewith she tamed the brinded lioness
    And spotted mountain-pard, but set at nought
    The frivolous bolt of Cupid; gods and men
    Feared her stern frown, and she was queen o' the woods.
    What was that snaky-headed Gorgon shield
    That wise Minerva wore, unconquered virgin,
    Wherewith she freezed her foes to congealed stone,
    But rigid looks of chaste austerity,                             450
    And noble grace that dashed brute violence
    With sudden adoration and blank awe?
    So dear to Heaven is saintly chastity
    That, when a soul is found sincerely so,
    A thousand liveried angels lackey her,
    Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt,
    And in clear dream and solemn vision
    Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear;
    Till oft converse with heavenly habitants
    Begin to cast a beam on the outward shape,                       460
    The unpolluted temple of the mind,
    And turns it by degrees to the soul's essence,
    Till all be made immortal. But, when lust,
    By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk,
    But most by lewd and lavish act of sin,
    Lets in defilement to the inward parts,
    The soul grows clotted by contagion,
    Imbodies, and imbrutes, till she quite loose
    The divine property of her first being.
    Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp                     470
    Oft seen in charnel-vaults and sepulchres,
    Lingering and sitting by a new-made grave,
    As loth to leave the body that it loved,
    And linked itself by carnal sensualty
    To a degenerate and degraded state.

    _Second Brother._ How charming is divine Philosophy!
    Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose,
    But musical as is Apollo's lute,
    And a perpetual feast of nectared sweets,
    Where no crude surfeit reigns.

    _Elder Brother._               List! list! I hear                480
    Some far-off hallo break the silent air.

    _Second Brother._ Methought so too; what should it be?

    _Elder Brother._                                       For certain,
    Either some one, like us, night-foundered here,
    Or else some neighbour woodman, or, at worst,
    Some roving robber calling to his fellows.

    _Second Brother._ Heaven keep my sister! Again, again, and near!
    Best draw, and stand upon our guard.

    _Elder Brother._                     I'll hallo.
    If he be friendly, he comes well: if not,
    Defence is a good cause, and Heaven be for us!

_Enter the ATTENDANT SPIRIT, habited like a shepherd._

    That hallo I should know. What are you? speak.                   490
    Come not too near; you fall on iron stakes else.

    _Spirit._ What voice is that? my young Lord? speak again.

    _Second Brother._ O brother, 'tis my father's shepherd, sure.

    _Elder Brother._ Thyrsis! whose artful strains have oft delayed
    The huddling brook to hear his madrigal,
    And sweetened every musk-rose of the dale.
    How camest thou here, good swain? Hath any ram
    Slipped from the fold, or young kid lost his dam,
    Or straggling wether the pent flock forsook?
    How couldst thou find this dark sequestered nook?                500

    _Spirit._ O my loved master's heir, and his next joy,
    I came not here on such a trivial toy
    As a strayed ewe, or to pursue the stealth
    Of pilfering wolf; not all the fleecy wealth
    That doth enrich these downs is worth a thought
    To this my errand, and the care it brought,
    But, oh! my virgin Lady, where is she?
    How chance she is not in your company?

    _Elder Brother._ To tell thee sadly, Shepherd, without blame
    Or our neglect, we lost her as we came.                          510

    _Spirit._ Ay me unhappy! then my fears are true.

    _Elder Brother._ What fears, good Thyrsis? Prithee briefly shew.

    _Spirit._ I'll tell ye. 'Tis not vain or fabulous
    (Though so esteemed by shallow ignorance)
    What the sage poets, taught by the heavenly Muse,
    Storied of old in high immortal verse
    Of dire Chimeras and enchanted isles,
    And rifted rocks whose entrance leads to Hell;
    For such there be, but unbelief is blind.
      Within the navel of this hideous wood,                         520
    Immured in cypress shades, a sorcerer dwells,
    Of Bacchus and of Circe born, great Comus,
    Deep skilled in all his mother's witcheries,
    And here to every thirsty wanderer
    By sly enticement gives his baneful cup,
    With many murmurs mixed, whose pleasing poison
    The visage quite transforms of him that drinks,
    And the inglorious likeness of a beast
    Fixes instead, unmoulding reason's mintage
    Charáctered in the face. This have I learnt                      530
    Tending my flocks hard by i' the hilly crofts
    That brow this bottom glade; whence night by night
    He and his monstrous rout are heard to howl
    Like stabled wolves, or tigers at their prey,
    Doing abhorred rites to Hecate
    In their obscuréd haunts of inmost bowers.
    Yet have they many baits and guileful spells
    To inveigle and invite the unwary sense
    Of them that pass unweeting by the way.
    This evening late, by then the chewing flocks                    540
    Had ta'en their supper on the savoury herb
    Of knot-grass dew-besprent, and were in fold,
    I sat me down to watch upon a bank
    With ivy canopied, and interwove
    With flaunting honeysuckle, and began,
    Wrapt in a pleasing fit of melancholy,
    To meditate my rural minstrelsy,
    Till fancy had her fill. But ere a close
    The wonted roar was up amidst the woods,
    And filled the air with barbarous dissonance;                    550
    At which I ceased, and listened them awhile,
    Till an unusual stop of sudden silence
    Gave respite to the drowsy frighted steeds
    That draw the litter of close-curtained Sleep.
    At last a soft and solemn-breathing sound
    Rose like a steam of rich distilled perfumes,
    And stole upon the air, that even Silence
    Was took ere she was ware, and wished she might
    Deny her nature, and be never more,
    Still to be so displaced. I was all ear,                         560
    And took in strains that might create a soul
    Under the ribs of Death. But, oh! ere long
    Too well I did perceive it was the voice
    Of my most honoured Lady, your dear sister.
    Amazed I stood, harrowed with grief and fear;
    And "O poor hapless nightingale," thought I,
    "How sweet thou sing'st, how near the deadly snare!"
    Then down the lawns I ran with headlong haste,
    Through paths and turnings often trod by day,
    Till, guided by mine ear, I found the place                      570
    Where that damned wizard, hid in sly disguise
    (For so by certain signs I knew), had met
    Already, ere my best speed could prevent,
    The aidless innocent lady, his wished prey;
    Who gently asked if he had seen such two,
    Supposing him some neighbour villager.
    Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guessed
    Ye were the two she meant; with that I sprung
    Into swift flight, till I had found you here;
    But further know I not.

    _Second Brother._       O night and shades,                      580
    How are ye joined with hell in triple knot
    Against the unarmed weakness of one virgin,
    Alone and helpless! Is this the confidence
    You gave me, brother?

    _Elder Brother._          Yes, and keep it still;
    Lean on it safely; not a period
    Shall be unsaid for me. Against the threats
    Of malice or of sorcery, or that power
    Which erring men call Chance, this I hold firm:
    Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt,
    Surprised by unjust force, but not enthralled;                   590
    Yea, even that which Mischief meant most harm
    Shall in the happy trial prove most glory.
    But evil on itself shall back recoil,
    And mix no more with goodness, when at last,
    Gathered like scum, and settled to itself,
    It shall be in eternal restless change
    Self-fed and self-consumed. If this fail,
    The pillared firmament is rottenness,
    And earth's base built on stubble. But come, let's on!
    Against the opposing will and arm of Heaven                      600
    May never this just sword be lifted up;
    But, for that damned magician, let him be girt
    With all the grisly legions that troop
    Under the sooty flag of Acheron,
    Harpies and Hydras, or all the monstrous forms
    'Twixt Africa and Ind, I'll find him out,
    And force him to return his purchase back,
    Or drag him by the curls to a foul death,
    Cursed as his life.

    _Spirit._           Alas! good venturous youth,
    I love thy courage yet, and bold emprise;                        610
    But here thy sword can do thee little stead.
    Far other arms and other weapons must
    Be those that quell the might of hellish charms.
    He with his bare wand can unthread thy joints,
    And crumble all thy sinews.

    _Elder Brother._            Why, prithee, Shepherd,
    How durst thou then thyself approach so near
    As to make this relation?

    _Spirit._                  Care and utmost shifts
    How to secure the Lady from surprisal
    Brought to my mind a certain shepherd lad,
    Of small regard to see to, yet well skilled                      620
    In every virtuous plant and healing herb
    That spreads her verdant leaf to the morning ray.
    He loved me well, and oft would beg me sing;
    Which when I did, he on the tender grass
    Would sit, and hearken even to ecstasy,
    And in requital ope his leathern scrip,
    And show me simples of a thousand names,
    Telling their strange and vigorous faculties.
    Amongst the rest a small unsightly root,
    But of divine effect, he culled me out.                          630
    The leaf was darkish, and had prickles on it,
    But in another country, as he said,
    Bore a bright golden flower, but not in this soil:
    Unknown, and like esteemed, and the dull swain
    Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon;
    And yet more med'cinal is it than that Moly
    That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave.
    He called it Hæmony, and gave it me,
    And bade me keep it as of sovran use
    'Gainst all enchantments, mildew blast, or damp,                 640
    Or ghastly Furies' apparition.
    I pursed it up, but little reckoning made,
    Till now that this extremity compelled.
    But now I find it true; for by this means
    I knew the foul enchanter, though disguised,
    Entered the very lime-twigs of his spells,
    And yet came off. If you have this about you
    (As I will give you when we go) you may
    Boldly assault the necromancer's hall;
    Where if he be, with dauntless hardihood                         650
    And brandished blade rush on him: break his glass,
    And shed the luscious liquor on the ground;
    But seize his wand. Though he and his curst crew
    Fierce sign of battle make, and menace high,
    Or, like the sons of Vulcan, vomit smoke,
    Yet will they soon retire, if he but shrink.

    _Elder Brother._ Thyrsis, lead on apace; I'll follow thee;
    And some good angel bear a shield before us!

_The Scene changes to a stately palace, set out with all manner of
deliciousness: soft music, tables spread with all dainties. COMUS
appears with his rabble, and the LADY set in an enchanted chair: to whom
he offers his glass; which she puts by, and goes about to rise._

    _Comus._ Nay, lady, sit. If I but wave this wand,
    Your nerves are all chained up in alabaster,                     660
    And you a statue, or as Daphne was,
    Root-bound, that fled Apollo.

    _Lady._                        Fool, do not boast.
    Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind
    With all thy charms, although this corporal rind
    Thou hast immanacled while Heaven sees good.

    _Comus._ Why are you vexed, lady? why do you frown?
    Here dwell no frowns, nor anger; from these gates
    Sorrow flies far. See, here be all the pleasures
    That fancy can beget on youthful thoughts,
    When the fresh blood grows lively, and returns                   670
    Brisk as the April buds in primrose season.
    And first behold this cordial julep here,
    That flames and dances in his crystal bounds,
    With spirits of balm and fragrant syrups mixed.
    Not that Nepenthes which the wife of Thone
    In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena
    Is of such power to stir up joy as this,
    To life so friendly, or so cool to thirst.
    Why should you be so cruel to yourself,
    And to those dainty limbs, which Nature lent                     680
    For gentle usage and soft delicacy?
    But you invert the covenants of her trust,
    And harshly deal, like an ill borrower,
    With that which you received on other terms,
    Scorning the unexempt condition
    By which all mortal frailty must subsist,
    Refreshment after toil, ease after pain,
    That have been tired all day without repast,
    And timely rest have wanted. But, fair virgin,
    This will restore all soon.

    _Lady._                     'Twill not, false traitor!           690
    'Twill not restore the truth and honesty
    That thou hast banished from thy tongue with lies.
    Was this the cottage and the safe abode
    Thou told'st me of? What grim aspects are these,
    These oughly-headed monsters? Mercy guard me!
    Hence with thy brewed enchantments, foul deceiver!
    Hast thou betrayed my credulous innocence
    With vizored falsehood and base forgery?
    And would'st thou seek again to trap me here
    With liquorish baits, fit to ensnare a brute?                    700
    Were it a draught for Juno when she banquets,
    I would not taste thy treasonous offer. None
    But such as are good men can give good things;
    And that which is not good is not delicious
    To a well-governed and wise appetite.

    _Comus._ O foolishness of men! that lend their ears
    To those budge doctors of the Stoic fur,
    And fetch their precepts from the Cynic tub,
    Praising the lean and sallow Abstinence!
    Wherefore did Nature pour her bounties forth                     710
    With such a full and unwithdrawing hand,
    Covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks,
    Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable,
    But all to please and sate the curious taste?
    And set to work millions of spinning worms,
    That in their green shops weave the smooth-haired silk,
    To deck her sons; and, that no corner might
    Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loins
    She hutched the all-worshipped ore and precious gems,
    To store her children with. If all the world                     720
    Should, in a pet of temperance, feed on pulse,
    Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but frieze,
    The All-giver would be unthanked, would be unpraised,
    Not half his riches known, and yet despised;
    And we should serve him as a grudging master,
    As a penurious niggard of his wealth,
    And live like Nature's bastards, not her sons,
    Who would be quite surcharged with her own weight,
    And strangled with her waste fertility:
    The earth cumbered, and the winged air darked with plumes,       730
    The herds would over-multitude their lords;
    The sea o'erfraught would swell, and the unsought diamonds
    Would so emblaze the forehead of the deep,
    And so bestud with stars, that they below
    Would grow inured to light, and come at last
    To gaze upon the sun with shameless brows.
    List, lady; be not coy, and be not cozened
    With that same vaunted name, Virginity.
    Beauty is Nature's coin; must not be hoarded,
    But must be current; and the good thereof                        740
    Consists in mutual and partaken bliss,
    Unsavoury in the enjoyment of itself.
    If you let slip time, like a neglected rose
    It withers on the stalk with languished head.
    Beauty is Nature's brag, and must be shown
    In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities,
    Where most may wonder at the workmanship.
    It is for homely features to keep home;
    They had their name thence: coarse complexions
    And cheeks of sorry grain will serve to ply                      750
    The sampler, and to tease the huswife's wool.
    What need of vermeil-tinctured lip for that,
    Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the morn?
    There was another meaning in these gifts;
    Think what, and be advised; you are but young yet.

    _Lady._ I had not thought to have unlocked my lips
    In this unhallowed air, but that this juggler
    Would think to charm my judgment, as mine eyes,
    Obtruding false rules pranked in reason's garb.
    I hate when vice can bolt her arguments                          760
    And virtue has no tongue to check her pride.
    Impostor! do not charge most innocent Nature,
    As if she would her children should be riotous
    With her abundance. She, good cateress,
    Means her provision only to the good,
    That live according to her sober laws,
    And holy dictate of spare Temperance.
    If every just man that now pines with want
    Had but a moderate and beseeming share
    Of that which lewdly-pampered Luxury                             770
    Now heaps upon some few with vast excess,
    Nature's full blessings would be well dispensed
    In unsuperfluous even proportions,
    And she no whit encumbered with her store;
    And then the Giver would be better thanked,
    His praise due paid: for swinish gluttony
    Ne'er looks to Heaven amidst his gorgeous feast,
    But with besotted base ingratitude
    Crams, and blasphemes his Feeder. Shall I go on?
    Or have I said enow? To him that dares                           780
    Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words
    Against the sun-clad power of chastity
    Fain would I something say;--yet to what end?
    Thou hast nor ear, nor soul, to apprehend
    The sublime notion and high mystery
    That must be uttered to unfold the sage
    And serious doctrine of Virginity;
    And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know
    More happiness than this thy present lot.
    Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric,                           790
    That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence;
    Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinced.
    Yet, should I try, the uncontrollèd worth
    Of this pure cause would kindle my rapt spirits
    To such a flame of sacred vehemence
    That dumb things would be moved to sympathise,
    And the brute Earth would lend her nerves, and shake,
    Till all thy magic structures, reared so high,
    Were shattered into heaps o'er thy false head.

    _Comus._ She fables not. I feel that I do fear                   800
    Her words set off by some superior power;
    And, though not mortal, yet a cold shuddering dew
    Dips me all o'er, as when the wrath of Jove
    Speaks thunder and the chains of Erebus
    To some of Saturn's crew. I must dissemble,
    And try her yet more strongly.--Come, no more!
    This is mere moral babble, and direct
    Against the canon laws of our foundation.
    I must not suffer this; yet 'tis but the lees
    And settlings of a melancholy blood.                             810

    But this will cure all straight; one sip of this
    Will bathe the drooping spirits in delight
    Beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise, and taste.

_The BROTHERS rush in with swords drawn, wrest his glass out of his
hand, and break it against the ground: his rout make sign of resistance,
but are all driven in. The ATTENDANT SPIRIT comes in._

    _Spirit._ What! have you let the false enchanter scape?
    O ye mistook; ye should have snatched his wand,
    And bound him fast. Without his rod reversed,
    And backward mutters of dissevering power,
    We cannot free the Lady that sits here
    In stony fetters fixed and motionless.
    Yet stay: be not disturbed; now I bethink me,                    820
    Some other means I have which may be used,
    Which once of Melibœus old I learnt,
    The soothest shepherd that e'er piped on plains.
      There is a gentle nymph not far from hence,
    That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn stream:
    Sabrina is her name: a virgin pure;
    Whilom she was the daughter of Locrine,
    That had the sceptre from his father Brute.
    She, guiltless damsel, flying the mad pursuit
    Of her enragéd stepdame, Guendolen,                              830
    Commended her fair innocence to the flood
    That stayed her flight with his cross-flowing course.
    The water-nymphs, that in the bottom played,
    Held up their pearled wrists, and took her in,
    Bearing her straight to aged Nereus' hall;
    Who, piteous of her woes, reared her lank head,
    And gave her to his daughters to imbathe
    In nectared lavers strewed with asphodel,
    And through the porch and inlet of each sense
    Dropt in ambrosial oils, till she revived,                       840
    And underwent a quick immortal change,
    Made Goddess of the river. Still she retains
    Her maiden gentleness, and oft at eve
    Visits the herds along the twilight meadows,
    Helping all urchin blasts, and ill-luck signs
    That the shrewd meddling elf delights to make,
    Which she with precious vialed liquors heals:
    For which the shepherds, at their festivals,
    Carol her goodness loud in rustic lays,
    And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stream                  850
    Of pansies, pinks, and gaudy daffodils.
    And, as the old swain said, she can unlock
    The clasping charm, and thaw the numbing spell,
    If she be right invoked in warbled song;
    For maidenhood she loves, and will be swift
    To aid a virgin, such as was herself,
    In hard-besetting need. This will I try,
    And add the power of some adjuring verse.


      Sabrina fair,
        Listen where thou art sitting                                860
      Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,
        In twisted braids of lilies knitting
      The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair;
        Listen for dear honour's sake,
        Goddess of the silver lake,
            Listen and save!

      Listen, and appear to us,
      In name of great Oceanus.
      By the earth-shaking Neptune's mace,
      And Tethys' grave majestic pace;                               870
      By hoary Nereus' wrinkled look,
      And the Carpathian wizard's hook;
      By scaly Triton's winding shell,
      And old soothsaying Glaucus' spell;
      By Leucothea's lovely hands,
      And her son that rules the strands;
      By Thetis' tinsel-slippered feet,
      And the songs of Sirens sweet;
      By dead Parthenope's dear tomb,
      And fair Ligea's golden comb,                                  880
      Wherewith she sits on diamond rocks
      Sleeking her soft alluring locks;
      By all the Nymphs that nightly dance
      Upon thy streams with wily glance;
      Rise, rise, and heave thy rosy head
      From thy coral-paven bed,
      And bridle in thy headlong wave,
      Till thou our summons answered have.
                            Listen and save!

_SABRINA rises, attended by Water-nymphs, and sings._

      By the rushy-fringéd bank,                                     890
      Where grows the willow and the osier dank,
        My sliding chariot stays,
      Thick set with agate, and the azurn sheen
      Of turkis blue, and emerald green,
        That in the channel strays;
      Whilst from off the waters fleet
      Thus I set my printless feet
      O'er the cowslip's velvet head,
        That bends not as I tread.
      Gentle swain, at thy request                                   900
          I am here!

      _Spirit._ Goddess dear,
      We implore thy powerful hand
      To undo the charméd band
      Of true virgin here distressed
      Through the force and through the wile
      Of unblessed enchanter vile.

      _Sabrina._ Shepherd, 'tis my office best
      To help ensnared chastity.
      Brightest Lady, look on me.                                    910
      Thus I sprinkle on thy breast
      Drops that from my fountain pure
      I have kept of precious cure;
      Thrice upon thy finger's tip,
      Thrice upon thy rubied lip:
      Next this marble venomed seat,
      Smeared with gums of glutinous heat,
      I touch with chaste palms moist and cold.
      Now the spell hath lost his hold;
      And I must haste ere morning hour                              920
      To wait in Amphitrite's bower.

_SABRINA descends, and the LADY rises out of her seat._

      _Spirit._ Virgin, daughter of Locrine,
      Sprung of old Anchises' line,
      May thy brimméd waves for this
      Their full tribute never miss
      From a thousand petty rills,
      That tumble down the snowy hills:
      Summer drouth or singéd air
      Never scorch thy tresses fair,
      Nor wet October's torrent flood                                930
      Thy molten crystal fill with mud;
      May thy billows roll ashore
      The beryl and the golden ore;
      May thy lofty head be crowned
      With many a tower and terrace round,
      And here and there thy banks upon
      With groves of myrrh and cinnamon.
        Come, Lady; while Heaven lends us grace,
      Let us fly this curséd place,
      Lest the sorcerer us entice                                    940
      With some other new device.
      Not a waste or needless sound
      Till we come to holier ground.
      I shall be your faithful guide
      Through this gloomy covert wide;
      And not many furlongs thence
      Is your Father's residence,
      Where this night are met in state
      Many a friend to gratulate
      His wished presence, and beside                                950
      All the swains that there abide
      With jigs and rural dance resort.
      We shall catch them at their sport,
      And our sudden coming there
      Will double all their mirth and cheer.
      Come, let us haste; the stars grow high,
      But Night sits monarch yet in the mid sky.

_The Scene changes, presenting Ludlow Town, and the President's Castle;
then come in Country Dancers; after them the ATTENDANT SPIRIT, with the
Two BROTHERS and the LADY._


      _Spirit._ Back, shepherds, back! Enough your play
      Till next sunshine holiday.
      Here be, without duck or nod,                                  960
      Other trippings to be trod
      Of lighter toes, and such court guise
      As Mercury did first devise
      With the mincing Dryades
      On the lawns and on the leas.

_This second Song presents them to their Father and Mother._

      Noble Lord and Lady bright,
      I have brought ye new delight.
      Here behold so goodly grown
      Three fair branches of your own.
      Heaven hath timely tried their youth,                          970
      Their faith, their patience, and their truth,
      And sent them here through hard assays
      With a crown of deathless praise,
      To triumph in victorious dance
      O'er sensual folly and intemperance.

_The dances ended, the SPIRIT epiloguizes._

      _Spirit._ To the ocean now I fly,
      And those happy climes that lie
      Where day never shuts his eye,
      Up in the broad fields of the sky.
      There I suck the liquid air,                                   980
      All amidst the gardens fair
      Of Hesperus, and his daughters three
      That sing about the golden tree.
      Along the crispéd shades and bowers
      Revels the spruce and jocund Spring;
      The Graces and the rosy-bosomed Hours
      Thither all their bounties bring.
      There eternal Summer dwells,
      And west winds with musky wing
      About the cedarn alleys fling                                  990
      Nard and cassia's balmy smells.
      Iris there with humid bow
      Waters the odorous banks, that blow
      Flowers of more mingled hue
      Than her purfled scarf can shew,
      And drenches with Elysian dew
      (List, mortals, if your ears be true)
      Beds of hyacinth and roses,
      Where young Adonis oft reposes,
      Waxing well of his deep wound,                                1000
      In slumber soft, and on the ground
      Sadly sits the Assyrian queen.
      But far above, in spangled sheen,
      Celestial Cupid, her famed son, advanced
      Holds his dear Psyche, sweet entranced
      After her wandering labours long,
      Till free consent the gods among
      Make her his eternal bride,
      And from her fair unspotted side
      Two blissful twins are to be born,                            1010
      Youth and Joy; so Jove hath sworn.
        But now my task is smoothly done,
      I can fly, or I can run
      Quickly to the green earth's end,
      Where the bowed welkin slow doth bend,
      And from thence can soar as soon
      To the corners of the moon.
      Mortals, that would follow me,
      Love Virtue; she alone is free.
      She can teach ye how to climb                                 1020
      Higher than the sphery chime;
      Or, if Virtue feeble were,
      Heaven itself would stoop to her.


~discovers~, exhibits, displays. The usual sense of 'discover' is to find
out or make known, but in Milton and Shakespeare the prefix _dis-_ has
often the more purely negative force of _un-_: hence discover = uncover,
reveal. Comp.--

                        "Some high-climbing hill
    Which to his eye _discovers_ unaware
    The goodly prospect of some foreign land."

    _Par. Lost_, iii. 546.

~Attendant Spirit descends~. The part of the attendant spirit was taken by
Lawes (see Introduction), who, in his prologue or opening speech,
explains who he is and on what errand he has been sent, hints at the
plot of the whole masque, and at the same time compliments the Earl in
whose honour the masque is being given (lines 30-36). In the ancient
classical drama the prologue was sometimes an outline of the plot,
sometimes an address to the audience, and sometimes introductory to the
plot. The opening of _Comus_ prepares the audience and also directly
addresses it (line 43). For the form of the epilogue in the actual
performance of the masque see note, l. 975-6.

1. ~starry threshold~, etc. Comp. Virgil: "The sire of gods and monarch of
men summons a council to the starry chamber" (_sideream in sedem_),
_Aen._ x. 2.

2. ~mansion~, abode. Trench points out that this word denotes strictly "a
place of tarrying," which might be for a longer or a shorter time: hence
'a resting-place.' Comp. _John_, xiv. 2, "In my Father's house are many
_mansions_"; and _Il Pens._ 93, "Her _mansion_ in this fleshly nook."
The word has now lost the notion of tarrying, and is applied to a large
and important dwelling-house. ~where~, in which: the antecedent is
separated from the relative, a frequent construction in Milton (comp.
lines 66, 821, etc.). So in Latin, where the grammatical connection
would generally be sufficiently indicated by the inflection. ~shapes ...
spirits~. An instance of the manner in which Milton endows spiritual
beings with personality without making them too distinct. "Of all the
poets who have introduced into their works the agency of supernatural
beings Milton has succeeded best" (Macaulay). We see this in _Par. Lost_
(_e.g._ ii. 666). Compare the use of the word 'shape' (Lat. _umbra_) in
l. 207: also _L'Alleg._ 4, "horrid _shapes_ and shrieks"; and _Il Pens._
6, "fancies fond with gaudy _shapes_ possess." Milton's use of the
demonstrative ~those~ in this line is noteworthy; comp. "_that_ last
infirmity of noble mind," _Lyc._ 71: it implies that the reference is to
something well known, and that further particularisation is needless.

3. ~insphered~. 'Sphere,' with its derivatives 'sphery,' 'insphere,' and
'unsphere' (_Il Pens._ 88), is used by Milton with a literal reference
to the cosmical framework as a whole (see _Hymn Nat._ 48) or to some
portion of it. In Shakespeare 'sphere' occurs in the wider sense of 'the
path in which anything moves,' and it is to this metaphorical use of the
word that we owe such phrases as 'a person's sphere of life,' 'sphere of
action,' etc. See also _Comus_, 112-4, 241-3, 1021; _Arc._ 62-7; _Par.
Lost_, v. 618; where there are references to the music of the spheres.

4. ~mild~: an attributive of the whole clause, 'regions of calm and serene
air.' ~calm and serene~. These are not mere synonyms: the Lat. _serenus_ =
bright or unclouded, so that the two epithets are to be respectively
contrasted with 'smoke' and 'stir' (line 5); 'calm' being opposed to
'stir' and 'serene' to 'smoke.' Compare Homer's description of the seat
of the gods: "Not by wind is it shaken, nor ever wet with rain, nor doth
the snow come nigh thereto, but _most clear_ air is spread about it
_cloudless_, and the white light floats over it," _Odyssey_, vi.: comp.
note, l. 977.

5. ~this dim spot~. The Spirit describes the Earth as it appears to those
immortal shapes whose presence he has just quitted.

6. There are here two attributive clauses: "which men call Earth" and
"(in which) men strive," etc. ~low-thoughted care~; narrow-minded anxiety,
care about earthly things. Comp. the form of the adjective 'low-browed,'
_L'Alleg._ 8: both epithets are borrowed by Pope in his _Eloisa_.

7. This line is attributive to 'men.' ~pestered ... pinfold~, crowded
together in this cramped space, the Earth. _Pester_, which has no
connection with _pest_, is a shortened form of _impester_, Fr.
_empêtrer_, to shackle a horse by the foot when it is at pasture. The
radical sense is that of clogging (comp. _Son._ xii. 1); hence of
crowding; and finally of annoyance or encumbrance of any kind. 'Pinfold'
is strictly an enclosure in which stray cattle are _pounded_ or shut up:
etymologically, the word = _pind-fold_, a corruption of _pound-fold_.
Comp. _impound_, sheep-_fold_, etc.

8. ~frail and feverish~. Comp. "life's fitful fever" (_Macbeth_, iii. 2.
23). This line, like several of the adjacent ones, is alliterative.

9. ~crown that Virtue gives~. This is Scriptural language: comp. _Rev._
iv. 4; 2 _Tim._ iv. 8, "Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of

10. ~this mortal change~. In Milton's MS. line 7 was followed by the
words, 'beyond the written date of mortal change,' _i.e._ beyond, or
after, man's appointed time to die. These words were struck out, but we
may suppose that the words 'mortal change' in line 10 have a similar
meaning. Milton frequently uses 'mortal' in the sense of 'liable to
death,' and hence 'human' as opposed to 'divine': the mortal change is
therefore 'the change which occurs to all human beings.' Comp. _Job_,
xiv. 14: "all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my
_change_ come": see also line 841. Prof. Masson takes it to mean 'this
mortal state of life,' as distinguished from a future state of
immortality. The Spirit uses 'this' as in line 8, in contrast with
'those,' line 2.

11. ~enthroned gods~, etc. In allusion to _Rev._ iv. 4, "And upon the
thrones I saw four and twenty elders sitting, arrayed in white garments;
and on their heads crowns of gold." Milton frequently speaks of the
inhabitants of heaven as _enthroned_. The accent here falls on the first
syllable of the word.

12. ~Yet some there be~, etc.: 'Although men are generally so exclusively
occupied with the cares of this life, there are nevertheless a few who
aspire,' etc. _Be_ is here purely indicative. This usage is frequent in
Elizabethan English, and still survives in parts of England. Comp.
_Lines on Univ. Carrier_, ii. 25, where it occurs in a similar phrase,
"there be that say 't": also lines 519, 668. It is employed to refer to
a number of persons or things, regarded as a class. ~by due steps~,
_i.e._ by the steps that are due or appointed: comp. '_due_ feet,' _Il
Pens._ 155. _Due_, _duty_, and _debt_ are all from Lat. _debitus_, owed.

13. ~their just hands~. 'Just' belongs to the predicate: 'to lay their
just hands' = to lay their hands with justice. ~golden key~. Comp. _Matt._
xvi. 19, "I will give unto thee the _keys_ of the kingdom of heaven";
also _Lyc._ 111:

    "Two massy keys he bore of metals twain
    (The _golden_ opes, the iron shuts amain)."

15. ~errand~: comp. _Par. Lost_, iii. 652, "One of the seven Who in God's
presence, nearest to his throne, Stand ready at command, and are his
eyes That run through all the Heavens, or down to the Earth Bear his
swift _errands_": also vii. 579. ~but for such~, _i.e._ unless it were for

16. 'I would not sully the purity of my heavenly garments with the
noisome vapour of this sin-corrupted earth.' ~ambrosial~, heavenly; also
used by Milton in the sense of 'conferring immortality': comp. l. 840;
_Par. Lost_, ii. 245; iv. 219, "blooming _ambrosial_ fruit."
'Ambrosial,' like 'amaranthus' (_Lyc._ 149), is cognate with the
Sanskrit _amríta_, undying; and is applied by Homer to the hair of the
gods: similarly in Tennyson's _Oenone_, 174: see also _In Memoriam_,
lxxxvi. Ben Jonson (_Neptune's Triumph_) has 'ambrosian hands,' _i.e._
hands fit for a deity. Ambrosia was the food of the gods. ~weeds~: now
used chiefly in the phrase "widow's weeds," _i.e._ mourning garment.
Milton and Shakespeare use it in the general sense of garment or
covering: in the lines _On the Death of a Fair Infant_, it is applied to
the human body itself; comp. also _M. N. D._ ii. 1. 255, "_Weed_ wide
enough to wrap a fairy in." See also _Comus_, 189, 390.

18. ~But to my task~, _i.e._ but I must proceed to my task: see l. 1012.

19. ~every ... each~. It is usual to write _every ... every_, or _each ...
each_, but Milton occasionally uses 'every' and 'each' together: comp.
l. 311 and _Lyc._ 93, "_every_ gust ... off _each_ beaked promontory."
_Every_ denotes each without exception, and can now only be used with
reference to more than two objects; _each_ may refer to two or more.

20. ~by lot~, etc. When Saturn (Kronos) was dethroned, his empire of the
universe was distributed amongst his three sons, Jupiter ('high' Jove),
Neptune (the god of the Sea), and Pluto ('nether' or Stygian Jove). In
_Iliad_ xv. Neptune (Poseidon) says: "For three brethren are we, and
sons of Kronos, whom Rhea bare ... And in three lots are all things
divided, and each drew a domain of his own, and to me fell the hoary
sea, to be my habitation for ever, when we shook the lots." ~nether~,
lower: comp. the phrase 'the upper and the nether lip,' and the name
Netherlands. Hell, the abode of Pluto, is called by Milton 'the nether
empire' (_Par. Lost_, ii. 295). The form _nethermost_ (_Par. Lost_, ii.
955) is, like _aftermost_ and _foremost_, a double superlative.

21. ~sea-girt isles~. Ben Jonson calls Britain a 'sea-girt isle': comp. l.
27. _Isle_ is the M.E. _ile_, in which form the _s_ has been dropped: it
is from O.F. _isle_, Lat. _insula_. It is therefore distinct from
_island_, where an _s_ has, by confusion, been inserted. Island = M.E.
_iland_, A.S. _igland_ (_ig_ = island: _land_ = land). In line 50 Milton
wrote 'iland.'

22. ~like to rich and various gems~, etc. Shakespeare describes England as
a 'precious stone set in the silver sea,' _Richard II._ ii. 1. 46: he
also speaks of Heaven as being _inlayed_ with stars, _Cym._ v. 5. 352;
_M. of V._ v. 1. 59, "Look how the floor of heaven Is thick _inlaid_
with patines of bright gold." Compare also _Par. Lost_, iv. 700, where
Milton refers to the ground as having a rich _inlay_ of flowers. But for
its inlay of islands the sea would be bare or unadorned. ~like~: here
followed by the preposition _to_, and having its proper force as an
adjective: comp. _Il Pens._ 9. Whether _like_ is used as an adjective
or an adverb, the preposition is now usually omitted: comp. l. 57.

24. ~to grace~, _i.e._ to show favour to: a clause of purpose.

25. ~By course commits~, etc., _i.e._ "In regular distribution he commits
to each his distinct government." ~several~: separate or distinct.
Radically _several_ is from the verb _sever_: it is now used only with
plural nouns.

26. ~sapphire~. This colour is again associated with the sea in line 29:
see note there.

27. ~little tridents~, in contrast with that of Neptune, who, "with his
trident touched the stars" (_Neptune's Triumph, Proteus' Song_, Ben

28. ~greatest and the best~. Comp. Shakespeare's eulogy in _Rich. II._ ii.
1: also Ben Jonson's "Albion, Prince of all his Isles," _Neptune's
Triumph, Apollo's Song_.

29. ~quarters~, divides into distinct regions. Comp. Dryden, _Georg. I._

    "Sailors _quarter'd_ Heaven, and found a name
    For every fixt and ev'ry wandering star."

Some would take the word as strictly denoting division into _four_
parts: "at that time the island was actually divided into four separate
governments: for besides those at London and Edinburgh, there were Lords
President of the North and of Wales." (Keightley). ~blue-haired deities~.
These must be distinct from the tributary gods who wield their little
tridents (line 27), otherwise the thought would ill accord with the
complimentary nature of lines 30-36. Regarding the epithet 'blue-haired'
Masson asks: "Can there be a recollection of blue as the British colour,
inherited from the old times of blue-stained Britons who fought with
Caesar? Green-haired is the usual epithet for Neptune and his
subordinates": in Spenser, for example, the sea-nymphs have long green
hair. But Ovid expressly calls the sea-deities _caerulei dii_, and
Neptune _caeruleus deus_, thus associating blue with the sea.

30. 'And all this region that looks towards the West (_i.e._ Wales) is
entrusted to a noble peer of great integrity and power.' The peer
referred to is the Earl of Bridgewater. As Lord President he was
entrusted with the civil and military administration of Wales and the
four English counties of Gloucester, Worcester, Hereford, and
Shropshire. That he was a nobleman of high character is shown by the
fact that from 1617, when he was nominated one of "his Majestie's
Counsellors," he had continued to serve in various important public and
private offices. On his monument there is the following: "He was a
profound Scholar, an able Statesman, and a good Christian: he was a
dutiful Son to his Mother the Church of England in her persecution, as
well as in her great splendour; a loyal Subject to his Sovereign in
those worst of times, when it was accounted treason not to be a traitor.
As he lived 70 years a pattern of virtue, so he died an example of
patience and piety." ~falling sun~: Lat. _sol occidens_. Orient and
occident (lit. 'rising' and 'falling') are frequently used to denote the
East and the West.

31. ~mickle~ (A.S. _micel_) great. From this word comes _much_. 'Mickle'
and 'muckle' are current in Scotland in the sense of great. Comp. _Rom.
and Jul._ ii. 3. 15, "O, _mickle_ is the powerful grace that lies In
herbs," etc.

33. ~An old and haughty nation~. The Welsh are Kelts, an Aryan people who
probably first entered Britain about B.C. 500: they are therefore
rightly spoken of as an old nation. Compare Ben Jonson's piece _For the
Honour of Wales_:

    "I is not come here to taulk of Brut,
    From whence the Welse does take his root," etc.

That they were haughty and 'proud in arms' the Romans found, and after
them the Saxons: the latter never really held more than the counties of
Monmouth and Hereford. In the reign of Edward I. attempts were made by
that king to induce the Welsh to come to terms, but the answer of the
Barons was: "We dare not submit to Edward, nor will we suffer our prince
to do so, nor do homage to strangers, whose tongue, ways and laws we
know not of: we have only raised war in defence of our lands, laws and
rights." By a statute of Henry VIII. this 'haughty' people were put in
possession of the same rights and liberties as the English. ~proud in
arms~: this is Virgil's _belloque superbum_, _Aen._ i. 21 (Warton).

34. ~nursed in princely lore~, brought up in a manner worthy of their high
position. It is to be noted that the Bridgewater family was by birth
distantly connected with the royal family. Milton may allude merely to
their connection with the court. _Lore_ is cognate with _learn_.

35. ~their father's state~. This probably refers to the actual ceremonies
connected with the installation of the Earl as Lord President. The old
sense of 'state' is 'chair of state': comp. _Arc._ 81, and Jonson's
_Hymenaei_, "And see where Juno ... Displays her glittering _state and

36. ~new-intrusted~, an adjective compounded of a participle and a simple
adverb, _new_ being = newly; comp. 'smooth-dittied,' l. 86. Contrast the
form of the epithet "blue-haired," where the compound adjective is
formed as if from a noun, "blue-hair": comp. "rushy-fringed," l. 890.
Strictly speaking, the Earl's power was not 'new-intrusted,' though it
was newly assumed. See Introduction.

37. ~perplexed~, interwoven, entangled (Lat. _plecto_, to plait or
twist). The word is here used literally and is therefore applicable to
inanimate objects. The accent is on the first syllable.

38. ~horror~. This word is meant not merely to indicate terror, but also
to describe the appearance of the paths. Horror is from Lat. _horrere_,
to bristle, and may be rendered 'shagginess' or 'ruggedness,' just as
_horrid_, l. 429, means bristling or rugged. Comp. _Par. Lost_, i. 563,
"a _horrid_ front Of dreadful length, and dazzling arms." ~shady brows~:
this may refer to the trees and bushes overhanging the paths, as the
brow overhangs the eyes.

39. ~Threats~: not current as a verb. ~forlorn~, now used only as an
adjective, is the past participle of the old verb _forleosen_, to lose
utterly: the prefix _for_ has an intensive force, as in _forswear_; but
in the latter word the sense of _from_ is more fully preserved in the
prefix. See note, l. 234.

40. ~tender age~. Lady Alice Egerton was about fourteen years of age; the
two brothers were younger than she.

41. ~But that~, etc. Grammatically, _but_ may be regarded as a
subordinative conjunction = 'unless (it had happened) that I was
despatched': or, taking it in its original prepositional sense, we may
regard it as governing the substantive clause, 'that ... guard.' ~quick
command~: the adjective has the force of an adverb, quick commands being
commands that are to be carried quickly. ~sovran~, supreme. This is
Milton's spelling of the modern word _sovereign_, in which the _g_ is
due to the mistaken notion that the last syllable of the word is cognate
with _reign_. The word is from Lat. _superanum_ = chief: comp. l. 639.

43. ~And listen why~; _sc._ 'I was despatched.' The language of lines 43,
44 is suggested by Horace's _Odes_, iii. 1, 2: "Favete linguis; carmina
non prius Audita ... canto." The poet implies that the plot of his mask
is original: it is not (he says) to be found in any ancient or modern
song or tale that was ever recited either in the 'hall' (=
banqueting-hall) or in the 'bower' (= private chamber). Or 'hall' and
'bower' may denote respectively the room of the lord and that of his

46. Milton in his usual significant manner (comp. _L'Allegro_ and _Il
Penseroso_), proceeds to invent a genealogy for Comus. The mask is
designed to celebrate the victory of Purity and Reason over Desire and
Enchantment. Comus, who represents the latter, must therefore spring
from parents representing the pleasure of man's lower nature and the
misuse of man's higher powers on behalf of falsehood and impurity. These
parents are the wine-god Bacchus and the sorceress Circe. The former,
mated with Love, is the father of Mirth (see _L'Allegro_); but, mated
with the cunning Circe, his offspring is a voluptuary whose gay
exterior and flattering speech hide his dangerously seductive and
magical powers. He bears no resemblance, therefore, to Comus as
represented in Ben Jonson's _Pleasure reconciled to Virtue_, in which
mask "Comus" and "The Belly" are throughout synonymous. In the
_Agamemnon_ of Aeschylus, Comus is a "drinker of human blood"; in
Philostratus, he is a rose-crowned wine-bibber; in Dekker he is "the
clerk of gluttony's kitchen"; in Massinger he is "the god of pleasure";
and in the work of Erycius Puteanus he is a graceful reveller, the
genius of love and cheerfulness. Prof. Masson says, "Milton's _Comus_ is
a creation of his own, for which he was as little indebted intrinsically
to Puteanus as to Ben Jonson. For the purpose of his masque at Ludlow
Castle he was bold enough to add a brand-new god, no less, to the
classic Pantheon, and to import him into Britain." ~Bacchus~, the god who
taught men the preparation of wine. He is the Greek Dionysus, who, on
one of his voyages, hired a vessel belonging to some Tyrrhenian pirates:
these men resolved to sell him as a slave. Thereupon, he changed the
mast and oars of the ship into serpents and the sailors into dolphins.
The meeting of Bacchus with Circe is Milton's own invention; in the
_Odyssey_ it is Ulysses who lights upon her island: "And we came to the
isle Ææan, where dwelt Circe of the braided tresses, an awful goddess of
mortal speech, own sister to the wizard Æetes," _Odys._ x. ~from out~,
etc. Comp. _Par. Lost_, v. 345. 'From out' has the same force as the
more common 'out from.'

47. ~misusèd~, abused. The prefix _mis-_ was very generally used by
Milton; _e.g._ _mislike_, _misdeem_, _miscreated_, _misthought_ (all

48. ~After the Tuscan mariners transformed~, _i.e._ after the
transformation of the Tuscan mariners (see Ovid, _Met._ iii.). They are
called Tuscan, because Tyrrhenia in Central Italy was named Etruria or
Tuscia by the Romans: Etruria includes modern Tuscany. This grammatical
construction is common in Latin; a passive participle combined with a
substantive answering to an English verbal or abstract noun connected
with another noun by the preposition _of_, and used to denote a fact in
the past; _e.g._ "since created man" (_P. L._ i. 573) = since the
creation of man: "this loss recovered" (_P. L._ ii. 21) = the recovery
of this loss.

49. ~as the winds listed~; at the pleasure of the winds: comp. _John_,
iii. 8, "the wind bloweth where it _listeth_"; _Lyc._ 123. The verb
_list_ is, in older English, generally used impersonally, and in Chaucer
we find 'if thee lust' or 'if thee list' = if it please thee. The word
survives in the adjective _listless_ of which the older form was
_lustless_: the noun _lust_ has lost its original and wider sense (which
it still has in German), and now signifies 'longing desire.'

50. ~On Circe's island fell~. Circe's island = Aeaea, off the coast of
Latium. Circe was the daughter of Helios (the Sun) by the ocean-nymph
Perse. On 'island,' see note, l. 21; and with this use of the verb
_fall_ comp. the Latin _incidere in_. The sudden introduction of the
interrogative clause in this line is an example of the figure of speech
called anadiplosis.

51. ~charmèd cup~, _i.e._ liquor that has been _charmed_ or rendered
magical. _Charms_ are incantations or magic verses (Lat. _carmina_):
comp. lines 526 and 817. Grammatically, 'cup' is the object of 'tasted.'

52. ~Whoever tasted lost~, _i.e._ who tasted (he) lost. In this
construction _whoever_ must precede both verbs; Shakespeare frequently
uses _who_ in this sense, and Milton occasionally: comp. _Son._ xii. 12,
"_who_ loves that must first be wise and good." See Abbott, § 251. ~lost
his upright shape~. In _Odyssey_ x. we read: "So Circe led them
(followers of Ulysses) in and set them upon chairs and high seats, and
made them a mess of cheese and barley-meal and yellow honey with
Pramnian wine, and mixed harmful drugs with the food to make them
utterly forget their own country. Now when she had given them the cup
and they had drunk it off, presently she smote them with a wand, and in
the styes of the swine she penned them. So they had the head and voice,
the bristles and the shape of swine, but their mind abode even as of
old. Thus were they penned there weeping, and Circe flung them acorns
and mast and fruit of the cornel tree to eat, whereon wallowing swine do
always batten." (_Butcher and Lang's translation._)

54. ~clustering locks~: comp. l. 608. Milton here pictures the Theban
Bacchus, a type of manly beauty, having his head crowned with a wreath
of vine and ivy: both of these plants were sacred to the god. Comp.
_L'Alleg._ 16, "ivy-crowned Bacchus"; _Par. Lost_, iv. 303; _Sams.
Agon._ 569.

55. ~his blithe youth~, _i.e._ his fresh young figure.

57. 'A son much like his father, but more like his mother.' This may
indicate that it is upon Comus's character as a sorcerer rather than as
a reveller that the story of the mask depends. Comp. _Masque of Hymen_:

    "Much of the father's face,
    More of the mother's grace."

58. ~Comus~: see note, l. 46. The Greek word κῶμος denoted a
revel or merry-making; afterwards it came to mean the personification of
riotous mirth, the god of Revel. Hence also the word _comedy_. In
classical mythology the individuality of Comus is not well defined: this
enabled Milton more readily to endow him with entirely new

59. ~frolic~: an instance of the original use of the word as an adjective;
comp. _L'Alleg._ 18, "frolic wind"; Tennyson's _Ulysses_, "a frolic
welcome." It is now chiefly used as a noun or a verb, and a new
adjective, _frolicsome_, has taken its place; from this, again, comes
the noun _frolicsomeness_. _Frolic_ is from the Dutch, and cognate with
German _fröhlich_, so that _lic_ in 'frolic' corresponds to _ly_ in such
words as cleanly, godly, etc. ~of~: this use of the preposition may be
compared with the Latin genitive in such phrases as _æger animi_ = sick
of soul; of = 'because of' or 'in respect of.'

60. ~Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields~, _i.e._ roving through Gaul and
Spain. 'Rove' here governs an accusative: comp. _Lyc._ 173, "walked the
waves"; _Par. Lost_, i. 521, "roamed the utmost Isles."

61. ~betakes him~. The pronoun has here a reflective force: in Elizabethan
English, and still more often in Early English, this use of the simple
pronouns is common (see Abbott, § 223). Compare l. 163. ~ominous~;
literally = full of omens or portents: comp. 'monstrous' = full of
monsters (_Lyc._ 158); also l. 79. 'Ominous' has now acquired the sense
of 'ill-omened'; compare the acquired sense of 'hapless,' 'unfortunate,'

65. ~orient~, bright. The Lat. _oriens_ = rising; hence (from being
applied to the sun) = eastern (l. 30); and hence generally 'bright' or
'shining': comp. _Par. Lost_, i. 546, "With _orient_ colours waving."

66. ~drouth of Phoebus~, _i.e._ thirst caused by the heat of the sun.
Phoebus is Apollo, the Sun-god. Compare l. 928, where 'drouth' = want of
rain; the more usual spelling is _drought_. ~which~: see note, l. 2.
'Which' is here object of 'taste,' and refers to 'liquor.'

67. ~fond~, foolish (its primary sense). _Fonned_ was the participle of an
old verb _fonnen_, to be foolish. The word is now used to express great
liking or affection: the idea of folly being almost entirely lost.
Chaucer has _fonne_, a fool: comp. _Il Pens._ 6, "fancies _fond_";
_Lyc._ 56, "I _fondly_ dream"; _Sams. Agon._ 1682, "So _fond_ are mortal

68. ~Soon as~, etc., _i.e._ as soon as the magical draught produces its
effect. In line 66 _as_ is temporal. ~potion~. Radically, potion = a
drink, but it is generally used in the sense of a medicated or poisonous
draught. _Poison_ is the same word through the French.

69. ~Express resemblance of the gods~. Comp. Shakespeare: "What a piece of
work is man! ... in action how like an angel, in apprehension, how like a
god!" See also _Par. Lost_, iii. 44, "human face divine."

71. ~ounce~. This is the _Felis uncia_, allied to the panther and the
cheetah. Some connect it with the Persian _yúz_, panther.

72. ~All other parts~, etc. In the _Odyssey_ (see note on l. 52) the
bodies of those transformed by Circe were entirely changed; here only
the head. As one editor observes, this suited the convenience of the
performers who were to appear on the stage in masks (see _Stage
direction_, l. 92-3). Grammatically, line 72 is an example of the
absolute construction, common in Latin. The noun ('parts') is neither
the subject nor the object of a verb, but is used along with some
attributive adjunct--generally a participle ('remaining')--to serve the
purpose of an adverb or adverbial clause. The noun (or pronoun) is
usually said to be the nominative absolute; but, in the case of
pronouns, Milton uses the nominative and the objective indifferently. In
Old English the dative was used.

73. ~perfect~, complete (Lat. _perfectus_, done thoroughly).

74. ~Not once perceive~, etc. This was not the case with the followers of
Ulysses: see note, l. 52.

76. ~friends and native home forgot~. Circe's cup has here the effect
ascribed to the lotus in _Odyssey_ ix. "Now whosoever of them did eat
the honey-sweet fruit of the lotus had no more wish to bring tidings nor
to come back, but there he chose to abide with the lotus-eating men,
ever feeding on the lotus and forgetful of his homeward way." In
Tennyson's _Lotos-Eaters_ there is no forgetfulness of friends and home:
"Sweet it was to dream of Fatherland, Of child, and wife and slave."
Masson also refers to Plato's ethical application of the story (_Rep._
viii.); "Plato speaks of the moral lotophagus, or youth steeped in
sensuality, as accounting his very viciousness a developed manhood, and
the so-called virtues but signs of rusticity." Compare also Spenser, _F.
Q._ ii. 12. 86, "One above the rest in speciall, That had an hog been
late, ... did him miscall, That had from hoggish form him brought to

77. ~sensual sty~: see note on l. 52. To those who, "with low-thoughted
care," are "unmindful of the crown that Virtue gives," the world becomes
little better than a sensual sty. This line is adverbial to _forget_.

78. ~favoured~: compare Lat. _gratus_ = favoured (adj.).

79. ~adventurous~, full of risks. The current sense of 'adventurous,'
applied only to persons, is "enterprising." See l. 61, 609. ~glade~:
strictly, an open space in a wood, and hence applied (as here) to the
wood itself. It is cognate with _glow_ and _glitter_, and its
fundamental sense is 'a passage for light' (Skeat).

80. ~glancing star~, a shooting star. Comp. _Par. Lost_, iv. 556:

          "Swift as a shooting star
    In autumn thwarts the night."

The rhythm of the line and the prevalence of sibilants suit the sense.

81. ~convoy~: comp. _Par. Lost_, vi. 752, "_convoyed_ By four cherubic
shapes." It is another form of _convey_ (Lat. _con_ = together, _via_ =
a way).

83. ~sky-robes~: the "ambrosial weeds" of line 16. ~Iris' woof~, material
dyed in rainbow colours. The goddess Iris was a personification of the
rainbow: comp. l. 992 and _Par. Lost_, xi. 244, "Iris had dipped the
woof." Etymologically, _woof_ is connected with _web_ and _weave_: it is
short for _on-wef_ = on-web, _i.e._ the cross threads laid on the warp
of a loom.

84. ~weeds~: see note, l. 16.

86. ~That to the service~, etc. The part of the Spirit was acted by Lawes,
first in "sky-robes," then in shepherd dress. In the dedication of
_Comus_ by Lawes to Lord Brackley (anonymous edition of 1637), he
alludes to the favours that had been shown him by the Bridgewater
family. In the above lines Milton compliments Lawes and enables Lawes to
compliment the Earl (see Introduction).

86. ~smooth-dittied~: sweetly-worded. 'Ditty' (Lat. _dictatum_) strictly
denotes the words of a song as distinct from the musical accompaniment;
it is now applied to any little piece intended to be sung: comp. _Lyc._
32. For a similar panegyric on Lawes' musical genius compare _Son._
xiii. The musical alliteration in lines 86-88 should be noted.

87. ~knows to still~, etc.: comp. _Lyc._ 10, "he knew Himself to sing."

88. ~nor of less faith~, etc.; _i.e._ he is not less faithful than he is
skilful in music; and from the nature of his occupation he is most
likely to be at hand should any emergency arise.

92. ~viewless~, invisible: comp. _The Passion_, 50, "_viewless_ wing";
_Par. Lost_, iii. 518. Masson calls this a peculiarly Shakespearian
word: see _M. for M._ iii. 1. 124, "To be imprisoned in the viewless
winds." The word is obsolete, but poets use great liberty in the
formation of adjectives in _-less_: comp. Shelley's _Sensitive Plant_,
'windless clouds.' See note, l. 574. ~charming-rod~: see note, l. 52: also
l. 653. ~rout~, a disorderly crowd. The word is also used in the sense of
'defeat,' and is cognate with _route_, _rote_, and _rut_. All come from
Lat. _ruptus_, broken: a 'rout' is the breaking up of a crowd, or a
crowd broken up; a 'route' is a way broken through a forest; 'rote' is a
beaten track; and a 'rut' is a track left by a wheel. See _Lyc._ 61, "by
the _rout_ that made the hideous roar."

93. ~star ... fold~, the evening star, Hesperus, an appellation of the
planet Venus: comp. _Lyc._ 30. As the morning star (called by
Shakespeare the 'unfolding star'), it is called Phosphorus or Lucifer,
the light-bringer. Hence Tennyson's allusion:

    "Bright Phosphor, fresher for the night,...
    Sweet _Hesper-Phosphor_, double name."--

    _In Memoriam_, cxxi.

Lines 93-144 are in rhymed couplets, and consist for the most part of
eight syllables each. The prevailing accentuation is iambic.

94. ~top of heaven~, etc., _i.e._ is far above the horizon. So in _Lyc._
31, it is said to slope "toward heaven's _descent_," _i.e._ to sink
towards the horizon. Comp. Virgil, _Aen._ ii. 250, "Round rolls the sky,
and on comes Night from the ocean."

95. ~gilded car~: Apollo, as the god of the Sun, rode in a golden chariot.
Comp. Chaucer, _Test. of Creseide_, 208, "Phoebus' golden cart"; and
"Phoebus' wain," line 190.

96. ~his glowing axle doth allay~. In the _Hymn of the Nativity_ Milton
alludes to the "burning axle-tree" of the sun: comp. _Aen._ iv. 482,
"Atlas _Axem_ umero torquet." There is here an allusion to the opinion
of the ancients that the setting of the sun in the Atlantic Ocean was
accompanied with a noise, as of the sea hissing (Todd). 'Allay' would
thus denote 'quench' or 'cool.' _His_, in this line, = _its_. _Its_
occurs only three times in Milton's poems, _Od. Nat._ 106; _Par. Lost_,
i. 254; _Par. Lost_, iv. 813: the word is found also in Lawes'
dedication of _Comus_. The word does not occur in English at all until
the end of the sixteenth century, the possessive case of the neuter
pronoun _it_ and of the masculine _he_ being _his_. This gave rise to
confusion when the old gender system decayed, and the form _its_
gradually came into use, until, by the end of the seventeenth century,
it was in general use. Milton, however, scarcely recognised it, its
place in his involved syntax being taken by the relative pronouns and
other connectives, or by _his_, _her_, _thereof_, etc.

97. ~steep Atlantic stream~. To the ancients the Ocean was the great
_stream_ that encompassed the earth: _Iliad_, xiv., "the deep-flowing
Okeanos (βαθύρροος)." With this use of 'steep' compare the
phrase 'the high seas.'

98. ~slope sun~, sun sunk beneath the horizon, so that the only rays
visible shoot up into the sky. _Slope_ = sloped; also used by Milton as
an adverb = aslope (_Par. Lost_, iv. 591), and as a verb (_Lyc._ 31).

99. ~dusky~. Milton first wrote 'northern.'

100. ~Pacing toward the other goal~, etc. Comp. _Psalm_ xix. 5: "The sun
as a bridegroom cometh out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man
to run a race."

102. The spirit of lines 102-144 may be contrasted with that of
_L'Allegro_, 25-40. Both pieces are calls upon Mirth and Pleasure, and
both are therefore suitably expressed in the same tripping measure and
with many similarities of language. But the pleasures of _L'Allegro_
begin with the sun-rise and yet are "unreproved"; those of _Comus_ and
his crew begin with the darkness and are "unreproved" only if "these dun
shades will ne'er report" them. The "light fantastic toe" of the one is
not the "tipsy dance" of the other; and the laughter and liberty that
betoken the absence of "wrinkled Care" have nothing in common with the
"midnight shout and revelry" that can be enjoyed only when Rigour,
Advice, strict Age, and sour Severity have "gone to bed." The "quips and
cranks" of _L'Allegro_ have given way to the magic rites of _Comus_, and
the wreathed smiles and dimples that adorn the face of innocent Mirth are
ill replaced by the wine-dropping "rosy twine" of revelry.

104. ~jollity~: has here its modern sense of boisterous mirth. In Milton
occasionally the adjective 'jolly' (Fr. _joli_, pretty) has its primary
sense of pleasing or festive.

105. ~Braid your locks with rosy twine~; 'entwine your hair with wreaths
of roses.'

106. ~dropping odours~: comp. l. 862-3.

108. ~Advice ... scrupulous head~. 'Advice,' now used chiefly to signify
counsel given by another, was formerly used also of self-counsel or
deliberation. See Chaucer, _Prologue_, 786, "granted him without more
_advice_"; and comp. Shakespeare, _M. of V._ iv. 2. 6, "Bassanio upon
more _advice_, Hath sent you here this ring"; also _Par. Lost_, ii. 376,
"_Advise_, if this be worth Attempting," where 'advise' = consider. See
also l. 755, note. _Scrupulous_ = full of scruples, conscientious.

110. ~saws~, sayings, maxims. _Saw_, _say_, and _saga_ (a Norwegian
legend) are cognate.

111. ~of purer fire~, _i.e._ having a higher or diviner nature. (Or, as
there is really no question of degree, we may render the phrase as =
divine.) Compare the Platonic doctrine that each element had living
creatures belonging to it, those of fire being the gods; similarly the
Stoics held that whatever consisted of _pure fire_ was divine, _e.g._
the stars: hence the additional significance of line 112.

112. ~the starry quire~: an allusion to the music of the spheres; see
lines 3, 1021. Pythagoras supposed that the planets emitted sounds
proportional to their distances from the earth and formed a celestial
concert too melodious to affect the "gross unpurgèd ear" of mankind:
comp. l. 458 and _Arc._ 63-73. Shakespeare (_M. of V._ v. 1. 61) alludes
to the music of the spheres:

    "There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
    But in his motion like an angel sings,
    Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins," etc.

_Quire_ is a form of _choir_ (Lat. _chorus_, a band of singers); in
Greek tragedy the chorus was supposed to represent the sentiments of the
audience. _Quire_ (of paper) is a totally different word, probably
derived from Lat. _quatuor_, four.

113. ~nightly watchful spheres~. Milton elsewhere alludes to the stars
keeping watch: "And all the spangled host keep watch in order bright,"
_Hymn Nat._ 21. 'Nightly,' used as an adjective in the sense of
'nocturnal': comp. _Il Pens._ 84, "To bless the doors from _nightly_
harm"; _Arc._ 48, "_nightly_ ill"; and Wordsworth's line: "The _nightly_
hunter lifting up his eyes." Its ordinary sense is "night by night."

114. ~Lead in swift round~. Comp. _Arc._ 71: "And the low world in
measured motion draw, After the heavenly tune."

115. ~sounds~, straits: A.S. _sund_, a strait of the sea, so called
because it could be _swum_ across. See Skeat, _Etym. Dict._ _s.v._

116. ~to the moon~, _i.e._ as affected by the moon. For similar uses of
'to,' comp. _Lyc._ 33, "tempered _to_ the oaten flute"; _Lyc._ 44,
"fanning their joyous leaves _to_ thy soft lays." ~morrice~. The waters
quiver in the moonlight as if dancing. The morrice = a morris or Moorish
dance, brought into Spain by the Moors, and thence introduced into
England by John of Gaunt. We read also of a "morris-pike"--a weapon used
by the Moors in Spain.

117. ~shelves~, flat ledges of rock.

118. ~pert~, lively. Here used in its radical sense (being a form of
_perk_, smart): its modern sense is 'forward' or 'impertinent.' Skeat
points out that _perk_ and _pert_ were both used as verbs; _e.g._
"_perked_ up in a glistering grief," _Henry VIII._ ii. 3. 21: "how it (a
child) speaks, and looks, and _perts_ up the head," Beaumont and
Fletcher's _Knight of the Burning Pestle_, i. 1. A similar change of _k_
into _t_ is seen in E. _mate_ from M.E. _make_. ~dapper~, quick (Du.
_dapper_, Ger. _tapfer_, brave, quick). It is usual in the sense of

119. ~dimple~. _Dimple_ is a diminutive of _dip_, and cognate with
_dingle_ and _dapple_.

120. ~daisies trim~: comp. _L'Alleg._ 75, "Meadows _trim_, with daisies
pied"; _Il Pens._ 50, "_trim_ gardens."

121. ~wakes~, night-watches (A.S. _niht-wacu_, a night wake). The
adjective _wakeful_ (A.S. _wacol_) is the exact cognate of the Latin
_vigil_. The word was applied to the vigil kept at the dedication of a
church, then to the feast connected therewith, and finally to an evening
merry-making. ~prove~, test, judge of (Lat. _probare_). This is its sense
in older writers and in the much-misunderstood phrase--"the exception
_proves_ the rule," which means that the exception is a test of the

124. ~Venus now wakes~, etc. Spenser, _Brit. Ida_, ii. 3, has "Night is
Love's holyday." In this line ~wakens~ is used transitively, its object
being 'Love.'

125. ~rights~. Here used, as sometimes by Spenser, where modern usage
requires _rites_ (Lat. _ritus_, a custom): see l. 535.

126. ~daylight ... sin~. Daylight makes sin by revealing it. Contrast the
sentiment of Comus with that of Milton in _Par. Lost_, i. 500, "When
night Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons Of Belial."

127. ~dun shades~: evidently suggested by Fairfax's _Tasso_, ix. 62, "The
horrid darkness, and the shadows _dun_." 'Dun' is A.S. _dunn_, dark.

129. ~Cotytto~, the goddess of Licentiousness: here called 'dark-veiled'
because her midnight orgies were veiled in darkness. She was a Thracian
divinity, and her worshippers were called Baptae ('sprinkled'), because
the ceremony of initiation involved the sprinkling of warm water.

131. ~called~, invoked. ~dragon-womb Of Stygian darkness~. The Styx (= 'the
abhorred') was the chief river in the lower world. Milton here speaks of
darkness as something positive, ejected from the womb of Night, Night
being represented as a monster of the lower regions: comp. _Par. Lost_,
i. 63. The pronoun 'her' shows that 'womb' is here used in its strict
sense, but in _Par. Lost_, i. 673, "in his _womb_ was hid metallic ore,"
it has the more general sense of "interior": comp. the use of Lat.
_uterus_, _Aen._ ii. 258, vii. 499. ~dragon~: Shakespeare refers to the
dragons or 'dragon car' of night, _Cym._ ii. 2. 48, "Swift, swift, you
_dragons_ of the night"; _Tro. and Cress._ v. 8. 17, "The _dragon_ wing
of night o'erspreads the earth"; see also _Il Pens._ 59, "Cynthia checks
her dragon yoke."

132. ~spets~, a form of _spits_ (as _spettle_ for _spittle_).

133. ~one blot~, _i.e._ a universal blot: comp. _Macbeth_, ii. 2. 63.
Milton first wrote, "And makes a blot of nature."

134. ~Stay~, here used causally = check. The radical sense of the word is
'to support,' as in the substantive _stay_ and its plural _stays_. ~ebon~,
black as ebony. Ebony is so called because it is hard as a stone (Heb.
_eben_, a stone); and the wood being of a dark colour, the name has
become a synonym both for hardness and for blackness.

135. ~Hecat'~, _i.e._ Hecatè (as in line 535): a mysterious Thracian
divinity, afterwards regarded as the goddess of witchcraft: for these
reasons a fit companion for Cotytto and a fit patroness of Comus. Jonson
calls her "the mistress of witches." She was supposed to send forth at
night all kinds of demons and phantoms, and to wander about with the
souls of the dead and amidst the howling of dogs.

136. ~utmost end~, full completion. Compare _L'Alleg._ 109, "the corn
That ten day-labourers could not _end_," where 'end' = 'complete.'

137. ~dues~: see note, l. 12.

138. ~blabbing eastern scout~, _i.e._ the tale-telling spy that comes from
the East, viz. Morning.

139. ~nice~; hard to please, fastidious: "a finely chosen epithet,
expressing at once _curious_ and _squeamish_" (Hurd). It is used by
Comus in contempt: comp. ii. _Henry IV._ iv. 1, "Hence, therefore, thou
_nice_ crutch"; and see the index to the Globe _Shakespeare_. ~the Indian
steep~. In his _Elegia Tertia_ Milton represents the sun as the
"light-bringing king" whose home is on the shores of the Ganges (_i.e._
in the far East): comp. "the Indian mount," _Par. Lost_, i. 781, and
Tennyson's _In Memoriam_, xxvi., "ere yet the morn Breaks hither over
_Indian_ seas."

140. ~cabined loop-hole~: an allusion to the first glimpse of dawn, _i.e._
the peep of day. Comp. "Out of her window close she blushing peeps,"
said of the morning (P. Fletcher's _Eclogues_), as if the first rays of
the sun struggled through some small aperture. 'Cabined,' literally
'belonging to a cabin,' and therefore small.

141. ~tell-tale Sun~. Compare Spenser, _Brit. Ida_, ii. 3,

    "The thick-locked boughs shut out the _tell-tale_ sun,
    For Venus hated his _all-blabbing_ light."

Shakespeare refers to "the tell-tale day" (_R. of L._ 806). In
_Odyssey_, viii., we read how Helios (the sun) kept watch and informed
Vulcan of Venus's love for Mars. ~descry~, etc., _i.e._ make known our
hidden rites. 'Descry' is here used in its primary sense = _describe_:
both words are from Lat. _describere_, to write fully. In Milton and
Shakespeare 'descry' also occurs in the sense of 'to reconnoitre.'

142. ~solemnity~, ceremony, rite. The word is from Lat. _sollus_,
complete, and _annus_, a year; 'solemn' = _solennis_ = _sollennis_.
Hence the changes of meaning: (1) recurring at the end of a completed
year; (2) usual; (3) religious, for sacred festivals recur at stated
intervals; (4) that which is not to be lightly undertaken, _i.e._
serious or important.

143. ~knit hands~, etc. Comp. _Masque of Hymen_:

    "Now, now begin to set
    Your spirits in active heat;
    And, since your hands are met,
    Instruct your nimble feet,
    In motions swift and meet,
    The happy ground to beat."

144. ~light fantastic round~: comp. _L'Alleg._ 34, "Come, and trip it, as
you go, On the light fantastic toe." A round is a dance or 'measure' in
which the dancers join hands, 'Fantastic' = full of fancy, unrestrained.
So Shakespeare uses it of that which has merely been imagined, and has
not yet happened. It is now used in the sense of grotesque. _Fancy_ is a
form of _fantasy_ (Greek _phantasia_).

At this point in the mask Comus and his rout dance a measure, after
which he again speaks, but in a different strain. The change is marked
by a return to blank verse: the previous lines are mostly in
octosyllabic couplets.

145. ~different~, _i.e._ different from the voluptuous footing of Comus
and his crew.

146. ~footing~: comp. _Lyc._ 103, "Camus, reverend sire, went _footing_

147. ~shrouds~, coverts, places of hiding. The word etymologically denotes
'something cut off,' being allied to 'shred'; hence a garment; and
finally (as in Milton) any covering or means of covering. Many of
Latimer's sermons are described as having been "preached in The
Shrouds," a covered place near St. Paul's Cathedral. The modern use of
the word is restricted: comp. l. 316. ~brakes~, bushes. Shakespeare has
"hawthorn-_brake_," _M. N. D._ iii. l. 3, and the word seems to be
connected with _bracken_.

148. ~Some virgin sure~, _sc._ 'it is.'

150. ~charms ... wily trains~; _i.e._ spells ... cunning allurements.
_Charm_ is the Lat. _carmen_, a song, also used in the sense of 'magic
verses'; wily = full of _wile_ (etymologically the same as guile).
_Train_ here denotes an artifice or snare as in 'venereal trains'
(_Sams. Agon._ 533): "Oh, _train_ me not, sweet mermaid, with thy note"
(_Com. of Errors_, iii. 2. 45). See Index, Globe _Shakespeare_. Some
would take 'wily trains' as = trains of wiles.

151. ~ere long~: _ere_ has here the force of a preposition; in A.S. it was
an adverb as well = soon, but now it is used only as a conjunction or a

153. ~Thus I hurl~, etc. "Conceive that at this moment of the performance
the actor who personates Comus flings into the air, or makes a gesture
as if flinging into the air, some powder, which, by a stage-device, is
kindled so as to produce a flash of blue light. In the original draft
among the Cambridge MSS. the phrase is _powdered spells_; but Milton, by
a judicious change, concealing the mechanism of the stage-trick,
substituted _dazzling_" (Masson).

154. ~dazzling~. This implies both brightness and illusion. ~spells~. A
_spell_ is properly a magical form of words (A.S. _spel_, a saying):
here it refers to the whole enchantment employed. ~spongy air~: so called
because it holds in suspension the magic powder.

155. ~Of power to cheat ... and (to) give~, etc. These lines are
attributive to 'spells.' The preposition 'of' is thus used to denote a
characteristic; thus 'of power' = powerful; comp. l. 677. ~blear
illusion~; deception, that which deceives by _blurring_ the vision.
Shakespeare has 'bleared thine eye' = dimmed thy vision, deceived (_Tam.
Shrew_, v. 1. 120). Comp. "This may stand for a pretty superficial
argument, to _blear_ our eyes, and lull us asleep in security" (Sir W.
Raleigh). _Blur_ is another form of _blear_.

156. ~presentments~, appearances. This word is to be distinguished from
_presentiment_. A presentiment is a "fore-feeling" (Lat. _praesentire_):
while a presentment is something presented (Lat. _praesens_, being
before). Shakespeare, _Ham._ iii. 4. 54, has 'presentment' in the sense
of picture. ~quaint habits~, unfamiliar dress. Quaint is from Lat.
_cognitus_, so that its primary sense is 'known' or 'remarkable.' In
French it became _coint_, which was treated as if from Lat. _comptus_,
neat; hence the word is frequent in the sense of neat, exact, or
delicate. Its modern sense is 'unusual' or 'odd.'

158. ~suspicious flight~: flight due to suspicion of danger.

160. ~I, under fair pretence~, etc.: 'Under the mask of friendly
intentions and with the plausible language of wheedling courtesy, I
insinuate myself into the unsuspecting mind and ensnare it.'

161. ~glozing~, flattering, wheedling. Compare _Par. Lost_, ix. 549,

    "So _glozed_ the temper, and his proem tuned:
    Into the heart of Eve his words made way."

_Gloze_ is from the old word _glose_, a gloss or explanation (Gr.
_glossa_, the tongue): hence also glossary, glossology, etc. Trench, in
his lecture on the Morality of Words, points out how often fair names
are given to ugly things: it is in this way that a word which merely
denoted an explanation has come to denote a false explanation, an
endeavour to deceive. The word has no connection with _gloss_ =

162. ~Baited~, rendered attractive. Radically _bait_ is the causative of
_bite_; hence a trap is said to be baited. Comp. _Sams. Ag._ 1066, "The
_bait_ of honied words."

163. ~wind me~, etc. The verbs _wind_ (_i.e._ coil) and _hug_ suggest the
cunning of the serpent. The easy-hearted man is the person whose heart
or mind is easily overcome: 'man' is here used generically. Burton, in
_Anat. of Mel._, says: "The devil, being a slender incomprehensible
spirit, can easily insinuate and _wind_ himself into human bodies."
_Me_ is here used reflexively: see note, l. 61. This is not the ethic

165. ~virtue~, _i.e._ power or influence (Lat. _virtus_). This radical
sense is still found in the phrase 'by virtue of' = by the power of. The
adjective _virtuous_ is now used only of moral excellence: in line 621
it has its older meaning.

166. The reading of the text is that of the editions of 1637 and 1645.
In the edition of 1673 the reading was:

    "I shall appear some harmless villager,
    And hearken, if I may, her business here.
    But here she comes, I fairly step aside."

But in the errata there was a direction to omit the comma after _may_,
and to change _here_ into _hear_. In Masson's text, accordingly, he
reads: "And hearken, if I may her business hear."

167. ~keeps up~, etc., _i.e._ keeps occupied with his country affairs even
up to a late hour. _Gear_: its original sense is 'preparation' (A.S.
_gearu_, ready); hence 'business' or 'property.' Comp. Spenser, _F. Q._
vi. 3. 6, "That to Sir Calidore was _easy gear_," _i.e._ an easy matter,
fairly, softly. _Fair_ and _softly_ were two words which went together,
signifying _gently_ (Warton).

170. ~mine ear ... My best guide~. Observe the juxtaposition of _mine_ and
_my_ in these lines. _Mine_ is frequent before a vowel, especially when
the possessive adjective is not emphatic. In Shakespeare 'mine' is
almost always found before "eye," "ear," etc., where no emphasis is
intended (Abbott, § 237).

171. ~Methought~, _i.e._ it seemed to me. In the verb 'methinks' _me_ is
the dative, and _thinks_ is an impersonal verb (A.S. _thincan_, to
appear), quite distinct from the causal verb 'I think,' which is from
A.S. _thencan_, to make to appear.

173. ~jocund~, merry. Comp. _L'Allegro_, 94, "the _jocund_ rebecks sound."
~gamesome~, lively. This word, like many other adjectives in _-some_, is
now less common than it was in Elizabethan English: many such adjectives
are obsolete, _e.g._ laboursome, joysome, quietsome, etc. (see Trench's
_English, Past and Present_, v.).

174. ~unlettered hinds~, ignorant rustics (A.S. _hina_, a domestic).

175. ~granges~, granaries, barns (Lat. _granum_, grain). The word is now
applied to a farm-house with its outhouses.

176. ~Pan~, the god of everything connected with pastoral life: see _Arc._
106, "Though Syrinx your Pan's mistress were."

177. ~thank the gods amiss~. _Amiss_ stands for M.E. _on misse_ = in
error. "Perhaps there is a touch of Puritan rigour in this. The gods
should be thanked in solemn acts of devotion, and not by merry-making"
(Keightley). See Introduction.

178. ~swilled insolence~, etc., _i.e._ the drunken rudeness of those
carousing at this late hour. _Swill_: to swill is to drink greedily,
hence to drink like a pig. ~wassailers~; from 'wassail' [A.S. _waes hael_;
from _wes_, be thou, and _hál_, whole (modern English _hale_)], a form
of salutation, used in drinking one's health; and hence employed in the
sense of 'revelling' or 'carousing.' The 'wassail-bowl' here referred to
is the "spicy nutbrown ale" of _L'Allegro_, 100. In Scott's _Ivanhoe_,
the Friar drinks to the Black Knight with the words, "_Waes hale_, Sir
Sluggish Knight," the Knight replying "Drink _hale_, Holy Clerk."

180. ~inform ... feet~. Comp. _Sams. Agon._ 335: "hither hath _informed_
your younger _feet_." This use of 'inform' (= direct) is well
illustrated in Spenser's _F. Q._ vi. 6: "Which with sage counsel, when
they went astray, He could _enforme_, and then reduce aright."

184. ~spreading favour~. Epithet transferred from cause to effect.

187. ~kind hospitable woods~: an instance of the pathetic fallacy which
attributes to inanimate objects the feelings of men: comp. ll. 194, 195.
_As_ in this line (after _such_) has the force of a relative pronoun.

188. ~grey-hooded Even~. Comp. "sandals grey," _Lyc._ 187; "civil-suited,"
_Il Pens._ 122; both applied to morning.

189. ~a sad votarist~, etc. A votarist is one who is bound by a vow (Lat.
_votum_): the current form is _votary_, applied in a general sense to
one _devoted_ to an object, _e.g._ a votary of science. In the present
case, the votarist is a _palmer_, _i.e._ a pilgrim who carried a
palm-branch in token of his having been to Palestine. Such would
naturally wear sober-coloured or homely garments: comp. Drayton, "a
palmer poor in homely russet clad." In _Par. Reg._ xiv. 426, Morning is
a pilgrim clad in "amice grey." On ~weed~, see note, l. 16.

190. ~hindmost wheels~: comp. l. 95: "If this fine image is optically
realised, what we see is Evening succeeding Day as the figure of a
venerable grey-hooded mendicant might slowly follow the wheels of some
rich man's chariot" (Masson).

192. ~labour ... thoughts~, the burden of my thoughts.

193. ~engaged~, committed: this use of the word may be compared with that
in _Hamlet_, iii. 3. 69, "Art more _engaged_" (= bound or entangled). To
_engage_ is to bind by a _gage_ or pledge.

195. ~stole~, stolen. This use of the past form for the participle is
frequent in Elizabethan English. ~Else~, etc. The meaning is: 'The envious
darkness must have stolen my brothers, _otherwise_ why should night hide
the light of the stars?' The clause 'but for some felonious end' is
therefore to some extent tautological.

197. ~dark lantern~. The stars by a far-fetched metaphor are said to be
concealed, though not extinguished, just as the light of a dark lantern
is shut off by a slide. Comp. More; "Vice is like a _dark lanthorn_,
which turns its bright side only to him that bears it."

198. ~everlasting oil~. Comp. _F. Q._ i. 1. 57:

    "By this the eternal lamps, wherewith high Jove
    Doth light the lower world, were half yspent:"

also _Macbeth_, ii. 1. 5, "There's husbandry in heaven; Their candles
are all out." There is here an irregularity of syntax. "That Nature hung
in heaven" is a relative clause co-ordinate _in sense_ with the next
clause; but by a change of thought the phrase "and filled their lamps"
is treated as a principal clause, and a new object is introduced: comp.
l. 6.

203. ~rife~, prevalent. ~perfect~, distinct; see note, l. 73.

204. ~single darkness~, darkness only. _Single_ is from the same base as
_simple_; comp. l. 369.

205. ~What might this be?~ This is a direct question about a past event,
and has the same meaning as "what should it be?" in line 482: see note
there. ~A thousand fantasies~, etc. On this, passage Lowell says: "That
wonderful passage in _Comus_ of the airy tongues, perhaps the most
imaginative in suggestion he ever wrote, was conjured out of a dry
sentence in Purchas's abstract of Marco Polo. Such examples help us to
understand the poet." Reference may also be made to the _Anat. of Mel._:
"Fear makes our imagination conceive what it list, ... and tyrannizeth
over our fantasy more than all other affections, especially in the
dark"; also to the song prefixed to the same work, "My phantasie
presents a thousand ugly shapes," etc. On the power of imagination or
phantasy, Shakespeare says:

                      "As imagination bodies forth
    The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
    Turns them to _shapes_, and gives to _airy nothing_
    A local habitation and a name."--

    _M. N. D._ v. 1. 14.

Compare also Ben Jonson's _Vision of Delight_:

    "Break, Phant'sie, from thy cave of cloud,
    And spread thy purple wings;
    Now all thy figures are allow'd,
    And various shapes of things:
    Create of _airy forms_ a stream ...
    And though it be a waking dream," etc.

207. ~Of calling shapes~, etc. In Heywood's _Hierarchy of Angels_ there is
a reference to travellers seeing strange shapes beckoning to them. Such
words as 'shapes,' 'shadows,' 'airy tongues,' etc., illustrate Milton's
power to create an indefinite, yet expressive picture. Comp. _Aen._ iv.
460. ~beckoning shadows dire~. A characteristic arrangement of words in
Milton: comp. lines 470, 945.

208. ~syllable~, pronounce distinctly.

210. ~may startle well~, may well startle.

212. ~siding champion, Conscience~. To side is to take a side, and hence
to assist: comp. _Cor._ iv. 2. 2: "The nobles who have _sided_ in his
behalf." 'Conscience' (here a trisyllable) is used in its current sense:
in _Son._ xxii. 10 it means consciousness. Comp. _Hen. VIII._ iii. 2.
379: "A peace above all earthly dignities, A still and quiet

213. ~pure-eyed Faith~. Comp. _Lyc._ 81, "those pure eyes And perfect
witness of all-judging Jove"; also the Scriptural words, "God is of
purer eyes than to behold iniquity." The maiden, whose safeguard is her
purity, calls on Faith, Hope, and Chastity, each being characterised by
an epithet denoting purity of thought and act, viz. 'pure-eyed,'
'white-handed,' and 'unblemished.' The placing of Chastity instead of
Charity in the trio is significant: see i. _Cor._ xiii.

214. ~hovering angel~. Hope hovers over the maiden to protect her. The
word 'hover' is found frequently in the sense of 'shelter.' girt,
surrounded. ~golden wings~. In _Il Pens._ 52, Contemplation "soars on
golden wing."

216. ~see ye visibly~, _i.e._ you are not mere shapes, but living
presences. _Ye_: here the object of the verb. "This confusion between
_ye_ and _you_ did not exist in old English; _ye_ was always used as a
nominative, and _you_ as a dative or accusative. In the English Bible
the distinction is very carefully observed, but in the dramatists of the
Elizabethan period there is a very loose use of the two forms" (Morris).
It is so in Milton, who has _ye_ as nominative, accusative, and dative;
comp. lines 513, 967, 1020; also _Arc._ 40, 81, 101. It may be noted
that _ye_ can be pronounced more rapidly than _you_, and is therefore
frequent when an unaccented syllable is required.

217. ~the Supreme Good~. God being the Supreme Good, if evil exists, it
must exist for God's purposes. Evil exists for the sake of 'vengeance'
or punishment.

219. ~glistering guardian~, _i.e._ one clad in the 'pure ambrosial weeds'
of l. 16. _Glister_, _glisten_, _glitter_, and _glint_ are cognate

221. ~Was I deceived~? There is a break in the construction at the end of
line 220. The girl's trust in Heaven is suddenly strengthened by a
glimpse of light in the dark sky. Warton regards the repetition of the
same words in lines 223, 224 as beautifully expressing the confidence of
an unaccusing conscience.

222. ~her~ = its. In Latin _nubes_, a cloud, is feminine.

223. ~does ... turn ... and casts~. Comp. _Il Pens._ 46, 'doth diet' and
'hears.' When two co-ordinate verbs are of the same tense and mood the
auxiliary verb should apply to both. The above construction is due
probably to change of thought.

225. ~tufted grove~. Comp. _L'Alleg._ 78: "bosomed high in _tufted_

226. ~hallo~. Also _hallow_ (as in Milton's editions), _halloo_, _halloa_,
and _holloa_.

227. ~make to be heard~. Make = cause.

228. ~new-enlivened spirits~, _i.e._ my spirits that have been newly
enlivened: for the form of the compound adjective comp. note, l. 36.

229. ~they~, _i.e._ the brothers.

230. ~Echo~. In classical mythology she was a nymph whom Juno punished by
preventing her from speaking before others or from being silent after
others had spoken. She fell in love with Narcissus, and pined away until
nothing remained of her but her voice. Compare the invocation to Echo in
Ben Jonson's _Cynthia's Revels_, i. 1.

The lady's song, which has been described as "an address to the very
Genius of Sound," is here very naturally introduced. The lady wishes to
rouse the echoes of the wood in order to attract her brothers' notice,
and she does so by addressing Echo, who grieves for the lost youth
Narcissus as the lady grieves for her lost brothers.

231. ~thy airy shell~; the atmosphere. Comp. "the hollow round of
Cynthia's seat," _Hymn Nat._ 103. The marginal reading in the MS. is
_cell_. Some suppose that 'shell' is here used, like Lat. _concha_,
because in classical times various musical instruments were made in the
form of a shell.

232. ~Meander's margent green~. Maeander, a river of Asia Minor,
remarkable for the windings of its course; hence the verb 'to meander,'
and hence also (in Keightley's opinion) the mention of the river as a
haunt of Echo. It is more probable, however, that, as the lady addresses
Echo as the "Sweet Queen of Parley" and the unhappy lover of the lost
Narcissus, the river is here mentioned because of its associations with
music and misfortune. The Marsyas was a tributary of the Maeander, and
the legend was that the flute upon which Marsyas played in his rash
contest with Apollo was carried into the Maeander and, after being
thrown on land, dedicated to Apollo, the god of song. Comp. _Lyc._
58-63, where the Muses and misfortune are similarly associated by a
reference to Orpheus, whose 'gory visage' and lyre were carried "down
the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore." Further, the Maeander is
associated with the sorrows of the maiden Byblis, who seeks her lost
brother Caunus (called by Ovid _Maeandrius juvenis_). [Since the above
was written, Prof. J. W. Hales has given the following explanation of
Milton's allusion: "The real reason is that the Meander was a famous
haunt of swans, and the swan was a favourite bird with the Greek and
Latin writers--one to whose sweet singing they perpetually allude"
(_Athenaeum_, April 20, 1889).] 'Margent.' _Marge_ and _margin_ are
forms of the same word.

233. ~the violet-embroidered vale~. The notion that flowers _broider_ or
ornament the ground is common in poetry: comp. _Par. Lost_, iv. 700:
"Under foot the violet, Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay
_Broidered_ the ground." In _Lyc._ 148, the flowers themselves wear
'embroidery.' The nightingale is made to haunt a violet-embroidered vale
because these flowers are associated with love (see Jonson's _Masque of
Hymen_) and with innocence (see _Hamlet_, iv. 5. 158: "I would give you
some violets, but they withered all when my father died"). Prof. Hales,
however, thinks that some particular vale is here alluded to, and
argues, with much acumen, that the poet referred to the woodlands close
by Athens to the north-west, through which the Cephissus flowed, and
where stood the birthplace of Sophocles, who sings of his native Colonus
as frequented by nightingales. The same critic regards the epithet
'violet-embroidered' as a translation of the Greek ἰοστέφανος
(= crowned with violets), frequently applied by Aristophanes to Athens,
of which Colonus was a suburb. Macaulay also refers to Athens as "the
violet-crowned city." It is, at least, very probable that Milton might
here associate the nightingale with Colonus, as he does in _Par. Reg._
iv. 245: see the following note.

234. ~love-lorn nightingale~, the nightingale whose loved ones are lost:
comp. Virgil, _Georg._ iv. 511: "As the nightingale wailing in the
poplar shade plains for her lost young, ... while she weeps the night
through, and sitting on a bough, reproduces her piteous melody, and
fills the country round with the plaints of her sorrow." _Lorn_ and
_lost_ are cognate words, the former being common in the compound
_forlorn_: see note, l. 39. Milton makes frequent allusion to the
nightingale: in _Il Penseroso_ it is 'Philomel'; in _Par. Reg._ iv. 245,
it is 'the Attic bird'; and in _Par. Lost_ viii. 518, it is 'the amorous
bird of night.' He calls it the Attic bird in allusion to the story of
Philomela, the daughter of Pandion, King of Athens. Near the Academy was
Colonus, which Sophocles has celebrated as the haunt of nightingales
(Browne). Philomela was changed, at her own prayer, into a nightingale
that she might escape the vengeance of her brother-in-law Tereus. The
epithet 'love-lorn,' however, seems to point to the legend of Aēdon
(Greek ἀηδών, a nightingale), who, having killed her own son by mistake,
was changed into a nightingale, whose mournful song was represented by
the Greek poets as the lament of the mother for her child.

235. ~her sad song mourneth~, _i.e._ sings her plaintive melody. 'Sad
song' forms a kind of cognate accusative.

237. ~likest thy Narcissus~. Narcissus, who failed to return the love of
Echo, was punished by being made to fall in love with his own image
reflected in a fountain: this he could never approach, and he
accordingly pined away and was changed into the flower which bears his
name. See the dialogue between Mercury and Echo in _Cynthia's Revels_,
i. 1. Grammatically, _likest_ is an adjective qualified adverbially by
"(to) thy Narcissus": comp. _Il Pens._ 9, "likest hovering dreams."

238. ~have hid~. This is not a grammatical inaccuracy (as Warton thinks),
but the subjunctive mood.

240. ~Tell me but where~, _i.e._ 'Only tell me where.'

241. ~Sweet Queen of Parley~, etc. 'Parley is conversation (Fr. _parler_,
to speak): _parlour_, _parole_, _palaver_, _parliament_, _parlance_.
etc., are cognate. ~Daughter of the Sphere~, _i.e._ of the sphere which is
her "airy shell" (l. 231): comp. "Sphere-born harmonious sisters, Voice
and Verse" (_At a Solemn Music_, 2).

243. ~give resounding grace~, etc., _i.e._ add the charm of echo to the
music of the spheres.

The metrical structure of this song should be noted: the lines vary in
length from two to six feet. The rhymes are few, and the effect is more
striking owing to the consonance of _shell_, _well_ with _vale_,
_nightingale_; also of _pair_, _where_ with _are_ and _sphere_; and of
_have_ with _cave_. Masson regards this song as a striking illustration
of Milton's free use of imperfect rhymes, even in his most musical

244. ~mortal mixture ... divine enchanting ravishment~. The words _mortal_
and _divine_ are in antithesis: comp. _Il Pens._ 91, 92, "The immortal
mind that hath forsook Her mansion in this fleshly nook." The lines
embody a compliment to the Lady Alice: read in this connection lines 555
and 564. 'Ravishment,' rapture (a cognate word) or ecstasy: comp. _Il
Pens._ 40, "Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes"; also l. 794.

246. ~Sure~, used adverbially: comp. line 493, and 'certain,' l. 266.

247. ~vocal~, used proleptically.

248. ~his~ = its: see note, l. 96. The pronoun refers to 'something holy.'

251. ~smoothing the raven down~. As the nightingale's song smooths the
rugged brow of Night (_Il Pens._ 58), so here the song of the lady
smooths the raven plumage of darkness. In classical mythology Night is a
winged goddess.

252. ~it~, _i.e._ darkness.

253. ~Circe ... Sirens three~. In the _Odyssey_ the Sirens are two in
number and have no connection with Circe. They lived on a rocky island
off the coast of Sicily and near the rock of Scylla (l. 257), and lured
sailors to destruction by the charm of their song. Circe was also a
sweet singer and had the power of enchanting men; hence the combined
allusion: see also Horace's _Epist._ i. 2, 23, _Sirenum voces, et Circes
pocula nôsti_. Besides, the Sirens were daughters of the river-god
Achelous, and Circe had Naiads or fountain-nymphs among her maids.

254. ~flowery-kirtled Naiades~: fresh-water nymphs dressed in flowers, or
having their skirts decorated with flowers. A _kirtle_ is a gown; Skeat
suggests that it is a diminutive of _skirt_.

255. ~baleful~, injurious (A.S. _balu_, evil).

256. ~sung~. "The verbs _swim_, _begin_, _run_, _drink_, _shrink_, _sink_,
_ring_, _sing_, _spring_, have for their proper past tenses _swam_,
_began_, _ran_, etc., preserving the original _a_; but in older writers
(sixteenth and seventeenth centuries) and in colloquial English we find
forms with _u_, which have come from the passive participles." (Morris).
~take the prisoned soul~, _i.e._ would take the soul prisoner; 'prisoned'
being used proleptically.

257. ~lap it in Elysium~. _Lap_ is a form of wrap: comp. _L'Alleg._ 136,
"_Lap_ me in soft Lydian airs." Elysium: the abode of the spirits of the
blessed; comp. _L'Alleg._ 147, "heaped Elysian flowers." ~Scylla ...
Charybdis~. The former, a rival of Circe in the affections of the sea-god
Glaucus, was changed into a monster, surrounded by barking dogs. She
threw herself into the sea and became a rock, the noise of the
surrounding waves ("multis circum latrantibus undis," _Aen._ vii. 588)
resembling the barking of dogs. The latter was a daughter of Poseidon,
and was hurled by Zeus into the sea, where she became a whirlpool.

260. ~slumber~: comp. _Pericles_, v. 1. 335, "thick slumber Hangs upon
mine eyes."

261. ~madness~, ecstasy. The same idea is expressed in _Il Pens._ 164: "As
may with sweetness, through mine ear, Dissolve me into _ecstasies_, And
bring all heaven before mine eyes." In Shakespeare 'ecstasy' occurs in
the sense of madness; see _Hamlet_, iii. 1. 167, "That unmatched form
and feature of blown youth, Blasted with _ecstasy_"; _Temp._ iii. 3.
108, "hinder them from what this _ecstasy_ May now provoke them to":
comp. also "the pleasure of that madness," _Wint. Tale_, v. 3. 73. See
also l. 625.

262. ~home-felt~, deeply felt. Compare "The _home_ thrust of a friendly
sword is sure" (Dryden); "This is a consideration that comes _home_ to
our interest" (Addison): see also Index to Globe _Shakespeare_.

263. ~waking bliss~, as opposed to the ecstatic slumber induced by the
song of Circe.

265. ~Hail, foreign wonder!~ Warton notes that _Comus_ is universally
allowed to have taken some of its tints from the _Tempest_, and quotes,
"O you wonder! If you be maid, or no?" i. 2. 426.

266. ~certain~: see note, l. 246.

267. ~Unless the goddess~, etc. = unless _thou be_ the goddess that in
rural shrine _dwells_ here. Here, as often in Latin, we have 'unless'
(Lat. _nisi_, etc.) used with a single word instead of a clause: and,
also as in Latin, the verb in the relative clause has the person of the

268. ~Pan or Sylvan~: see l. 176: also _Il Pens._ 134, "shadows brown that
Sylvan loves," and _Arc._ 106, "Though Syrinx your Pan's mistress were."
Sylvanus, the god of fields and forests, as denoted by his name which is
corrupted from Silvan (Lat. _silva_, a wood).

269. ~Forbidding~, etc. These lines recall the language of _Arcades_, in
which also a lady is complimented as "a _deity_," "a _rural_ Queen," and
"mistress of yon princely shrine" in the land of Pan. There is a
reference also to her protecting the woods through her servant, the
Genius: _Arc._ 36-53, 91-95.

271. ~ill is lost~. A Latin idiom (as Keightley points out) = _male
perditur_: Prof. Masson, however, would regard it as equivalent to
"there is little loss in losing."

273. ~extreme shift~; last resource. Comp. l. 617.

274. ~my severed company~: a condensed expression = the companions
separated from me. Comp. l. 315: this figure of speech is called

277. ~What chance~, etc. In lines 277-290 we have a reproduction of that
form of dialogue employed in Greek tragedy in which question and answer
occupy alternate lines: it is called _stichomythia_, and is admirable
when there is a gradual rise in excitement towards the end (as in the
_Supplices_ of Euripides). In _Samson Agonistes_, which is modelled on
the Greek pattern, Milton did not employ it.

278. An alliterative line.

279. ~near ushering~, closely attending. To usher is to introduce (Lat.
_ostium_, a door).

284. ~twain~: thus frequently used as a predicate. It is also used after
its substantive as in _Lyc._ 110, "of metals _twain_," and as a

285. ~forestalling~, anticipating. 'Forestall,' originally a marketing
term, is to buy up goods before they have been displayed at a _stall_ in
the market in order to sell them again at a higher price: hence 'to
anticipate.' ~prevented~. 'Prevent,' now used in the sense of 'hinder,'
seems in this line to have something of its older meaning, viz., to
anticipate (in which case 'forestalling' would be proleptic). Comp. l.
362; _Par. Lost_, vi. 129, "half-way he met His daring foe, at this
_prevention_ more Incensed."

286. ~to hit~. This is the gerundial infinitive after an adjective: comp.
"good to eat," "deadly to hear," etc.

287. ~Imports their loss~, etc.: 'Apart from the present emergency, is the
loss of them important?'

289. ~manly prime~, etc.: 'Were they in the prime of manhood, or were they
merely youths?' With Milton the 'prime of manhood' is where 'youth'
ends: comp. _Par. Lost_, xi. 245, "_prime_ in manhood where youth
ended"; iii. 636, "a stripling Cherub he appears, Not of the prime, yet
such as in his face Youth smiled celestial." Spenser has 'prime' =

290. ~Hebe~, the goddess of youth. "The down of manhood" had not appeared
on the lips of the brothers.

291. ~what time~: common in poetry for 'when' (Lat. _quo tempore_).
Compare Horace, _Od._ iii. 6: "what time the sun shifted the shadows of
the mountains, and took the yokes from the wearied oxen." ~laboured~:
wearied with labour.

292. ~loose traces~. Because no longer taut from the draught of the

293. ~swinked~, overcome with toil, fatigued (A.S. _swincan_, to toil).
Skeat points out that this was once an extremely common word; the sense
of toil is due to that of constant movement from the _swinging_ of the
labourer's arms. In Chaucer 'swinker' = ploughman.

294. ~mantling~, spreading. To mantle is strictly to cloak or cover: comp.
_Temp._ v. 1. 67, "fumes that _mantle_ Their clearer reason."

297. ~port~, bearing, mien.

298. ~faery~. This spelling is nearer to that of the M.E. _faerie_ than
the current form.

299. ~the element~; the air. Since the time of the Greek philosopher
Empedocles, fire, earth, air, and water have been popularly called the
four elements; when used alone, however, 'the element' commonly means
'the air.' Comp. _Hen. V._ iv. 1. 107, "The _element_ shows him as it
doth to me"; _Par. Lost_, ii. 490, "the louring _element_ Scowls o'er
the darkened landscape snow or shower," etc.

301. ~plighted~, interwoven or _plaited_. The verb 'plight' (or more
properly _plite_) is a variant of _plait_: see _Il Pens._ 57, "her
sweetest saddest _plight_." The word has no connection with 'plight,' l.
372. ~awe-strook~. Milton uses three forms of the participle, viz.
'strook,' 'struck,' and 'strucken.'

302. ~worshiped~. The final consonant is now doubled in such verbs before

303. ~were~ = would be: subjunctive. ~like the path to Heaven~; _i.e._ it
would be a pleasure to help, etc. There is (probably) no allusion to the
Scripture parable of the narrow and difficult way to Heaven (_Matt._
vii.) as in _Son._ ix., "labours up the hill of heavenly Truth."

304. ~help you find~: comp. l. 623. The simple infinitive is here used
without _to_ where _to_ would now be inserted. This omission of the
preposition now occurs with so few verbs that 'to' is often called the
sign of the infinitive, but in Early English the only sign of the
infinitive was the termination _en_ (_e.g._ he can _speken_). The
infinitive, being used as a noun, had a dative form called the gerund,
which was preceded by the preposition _to_, and when this became
confused with the simple infinitive the use of _to_ became general.
Comp. _Son._ xx. 4, "_Help_ waste a sullen day."

305. ~readiest way~. Here 'readiest' logically belongs to the predicate.

311. ~each ... every~: see note, l. 19. ~alley~, a walk or avenue.

312. ~Dingle ... bushy dell ... bosky bourn~. 'Dingle' = dimble (see Ben
Jonson's _Sad Shepherd_) = dimple = a little dip or depression; hence a
narrow valley. 'Dell' = dale, literally a cleft; hence a valley, not so
deep as a dingle. 'Bosky bourn,' a stream whose banks are bushy or
thickly grown with bushes. 'Bourn,' a boundary, is a distinct word
etymologically, but the phrase "from side to side," as used by Comus,
might well imply that the valley as well as the stream is here referred
to. 'Bosky,' bushy. The noun 'boscage' = jungle or _bush_ (M.E. _busch_,
_bush_, _bush_). 'See Tennyson's _Dream of F. W._ 243, "the sombre
_boscage_ of the wood."

315. ~stray attendance~ = strayed attendants; abstract for concrete, as in
line 274. Comp. _Par. Lost_, x. 80, "_Attendance_ none shall need, nor
train"; xii. 132, "Of herds, and flocks, and numerous _servitude_" (=

316. ~shroud~, etc. Milton first wrote "within these shroudie limits": see
note, l. 147.

317. ~low-roosted lark~, _i.e._ the lark that has roosted on the ground.
This is certainly Milton's meaning, as he refers to the bird as rising
from its "thatched pallet" = its nest, which is built on the ground.
'Roost' has, however, no radical connection with _rest_, but denotes a
perch for fowls, and Keightley's remark that Milton is guilty of
supposing the lark to sleep, like a hen, upon a perch or roost, may
therefore be noticed. But the poets' meaning is obvious. Prof. Masson
takes 'thatched' as referring to the texture of the nest or to the
corn-stalks or rushes over it.

318. ~rouse~. Here used intransitively = awake.

322. ~honest-offered~: see notes, ll. 36, 228.

323. ~sooner~, more readily.

324. ~tapestry halls~. Halls hung with tapestry, tapestry being "a kind of
carpet work, with wrought figures, especially used for decorating
walls." The word is said to be from the Persian.

325. ~first was named~. The meaning is: '_Courtesy_ which is derived from
_court_, and which is still nominally most common in high life, is
nevertheless most readily found amongst those of humble station.' This
sentiment is becoming in the mouth of Lady Alice when addressed to a
humble shepherd. 'Courtesy' (or, as Milton elsewhere writes,
_courtship_) has, like _civility_, lost much of its deeper significance.
Comp. Spenser, _F. Q._ vi. 1. 1:

    "Of Court it seems men Courtesy do call,
    For that it there most useth to abound."

327. ~less warranted~, _i.e._ when I have less _guarantee_ of safety.
_Guarantee_ and _warrant_, like _guard_ and _ward_, _guile_ and _wile_,
are radically the same.

329. ~Eye me~, _i.e._ look on me. To _eye_ a person now usually implies
watching narrowly or suspiciously. ~square~, accommodate, adjust. The adj.
'proportioned' is here used proleptically, denoting the result of the
action indicated by the verb 'square.' Comp. _M. for M._ v. 1: "Thou 'rt
said to have a stubborn soul, ... And _squar'st_ thy life accordingly."
~Exeunt~, _i.e._ they go out, they leave the stage.

331. ~Unmuffle~, uncover yourselves. To _muffle_ is to cover up, _e.g._
'to _muffle_ the throat,' 'a _muffled_ sound,' etc. _Muffle_ (subst.) is
a diminutive of _muff_.

332. ~wont'st~, _i.e._ art wont. _Wont'st_ is here apparently the 2nd
person singular, present tense, of a verb _to wont_ = to be accustomed;
hence also the participle _wonted_ (_Il Pens._ 37, "keep thy _wonted_
state"). But the M.E. verb was _wonen_, to dwell or be accustomed, and
its participle _woned_ or _wont_. The fact that _wont_ was a participle
being forgotten, it was treated as a distinct verb, and a new participle
formed, viz., _wonted_ (= won-ed-ed); from this again comes the noun
_wontedness_. Milton, however, uses _wont_ as a present only twice in
his poetry: as in modern English he uses it as a noun (= custom) or as a
participial adj. with the verb _to be_ (_Il Pens._ 123, "As she was
wont"). ~benison~, blessing: radically the same as 'benediction' (Lat.

333. ~Stoop thy pale visage~, etc. Comp. l. 1023 and _Il Pens._ 72,
"_Stooping_ through a fleecy cloud." 'Visage,' a word now mostly used
with a touch of contempt, in Milton simply denotes 'face': see _Il
Pens._ 13, "saintly _visage_"; _Lyc._ 62, "His gory _visage_ down the
stream was sent." ~amber~: comp. _L'Alleg._ 61, "Robed in flames and
_amber_ light," and Tennyson:

    "What time the _amber_ morn
    Forth gushes from beneath a low-hung cloud."

334. ~disinherit~, drive out, dispossess. Comp. _Two Gent._ iii. 2. 87,
"This or else nothing, will _inherit_ (_i.e._ obtain possession of)

336. ~Influence ... dammed up~. The verb here shows that influence is
employed in its strict sense, = a flowing in (Lat. _in_ and _fluo_): it
was thus used in astrology to denote "an _influent_ course of the
planets, their virtue being infused into, or their course working on,
inferior creatures"; comp. _L'Alleg._ 112, "whose bright eyes Rain
_influence_"; _Par. Lost_, iv. 669, "with kindly heat Of various
_influence_." Astrology has left many traces upon the English language,
_e.g._ influence, disastrous, ill-starred, ascendant, etc. See also l.

337. ~taper~; here a vocative, the verb being "visit (thou)."

338. ~though a rush candle~, _i.e._ 'though it be only a rush-candle'; a
rush light, obtained from the pith of a rush dipped in oil.

340. ~long levelled rule~; straight horizontal beam of light: comp. _Par.
Lost_, iv. 543, "the setting sun ... _Levelled_ his evening rays." The
instrument with which straight lines are drawn is called a _rule_ or

341. ~star of Arcady Or Tyrian Cynosure~; here put by synecdoche for
'lode-star.' More particularly, the star of Arcady signifies any of the
stars in the constellation of the Great Bear, by which Greek sailors
steered; and 'Tyrian Cynosure' signifies the stars comprising that part
of the constellation of the Lesser Bear which, from its shape, was
called _Cynosura_, the dog's tail (Greek κυνὸς οὐρά), and by
which Phoenician or Tyrian sailors steered. See _L'Alleg._ 80, "The
_cynosure_ of neighbouring eyes," where the word is used as a common
noun = point of attraction. Both constellations are connected in Greek
mythology with the Arcadian nymph Callisto, who was turned by Zeus into
the Great Bear while her son Arcas became the Lesser Bear. Milton
follows the Roman poets in associating these stars with Arcadia on this

343. ~barred~, debarred or barred _from_.

344. ~wattled cotes~: enclosures made of hurdles, _i.e._ frames of
plaited twigs. _Cote_, _cot_, and _coat_ are varieties of the same word
= a covering or enclosure.

345. ~oaten stops~: see _Lyc._ 33, "the _oaten_ flute"; 88, "But now my
_oat_ proceeds"; 188, "the tender stops of various _quills_." The
shepherd's pipe, being at first a row of oaten stalks, "the oaten pipe,"
"oat," etc., came to denote any instrument of this kind and even to
signify "pastoral poetry." The 'stops' are the holes over which the
player's fingers are placed, also called vent-holes or "ventages"
(_Ham._ iii. 2. 372). See also note on 'azurn,' l. 893.

346. ~whistle ... lodge~, _i.e._ the sound of the shepherd calling his dog
by whistling. Or it may be used in the same sense as in _L'Alleg._ 63,
"the ploughman _whistles_ o'er the furrowed land."

347. ~Count ... dames~: comp. _L'Alleg._ 52, "the cock ... Stoutly struts
his _dames_ before"; 114, "Ere the first cock his matin rings."
Grammatically, 'count' (infinitive) forms with 'cock' the complex object
of 'might hear.'

349. ~innumerous~, innumerable (Lat. _innumerus_). Comp. _Par. Lost_, vii.
455, "_Innumerous_ living creatures"; ix. 1089.

350. ~hapless~, unfortunate. Many words, such as happy, lucky, fortunate,
etc., which strictly refer to a person's hap or chance, whether good or
bad, have become restricted to good hap: in order to give them an
unfavourable meaning a negative prefix or suffix is necessary.

With reference to the word _fortune_, Max Müller says: "We speak of good
and evil fortune, so did the French, and so did the Romans. By itself
_fortuna_ was taken either in a good or a bad sense, though it generally
meant good fortune. Whenever there could be any doubt, the Romans
defined _fortuna_ by such adjectives as _bona_, _secunda_, _prospera_,
for good; _mala_ or _adversa_ for bad fortune ... _Fortuna_ came to mean
something like chance."

351. ~her~, herself. On the reflexive use of _her_, see note, l. 163.

352. ~burs~; burrs, prickly seed-vessels of certain plants, _e.g._ the
burr-thistle, the burdock (= the burr-dock), etc.

355. ~leans~. As Milton frequently omits the nominative, we may supply
_she_: otherwise _leans_ would be intransitive and its nominative
'head': see note, l. 715. ~fraught~, freighted, filled. _Freight_ is
itself a later form of _fraught_: in _Sams. Agon._, 1075, _fraught_ is a
noun (Ger. _fracht_, a load). See line 732.

356. ~What~, etc. The ellipses may be supplied thus: "What (shall be done)
if (she be) in wild amazement?"

358. ~savage hunger~. 'Hunger' is put by synecdoche for hungry animals.

359. ~over-exquisite~, _i.e._ too curious, over-inquisitive. _Exquisite_
is here used in the sense of _inquisitive_; in modern English
'exquisite' has a passive sense only, while 'inquisitive' has an active
sense (Lat. _quaero_, to seek): see note, l. 714.

"The dialogue between the two brothers is an amicable contest between
fact and philosophy. The younger draws his arguments from common
apprehension, and the obvious appearance of things; the elder proceeds
on a profounder knowledge, and argues from abstracted principles. Here
the difference of their ages is properly made subservient to a contrast
of character" (Warton).

360. ~To cast the fashion~, _i.e._ to prejudge the form. 'To cast' was
common in the sense of to calculate or compute; see Shakespeare, ii.
_Henry IV._ i. 1. 166, "You _cast_ the event of war." Some think,
however, that the word has here its still more restricted sense as used
in astrology, _e.g._ "to _cast_ a nativity"; others see in it a
reference to the founder's art; and others to medical diagnosis.

361. ~Grant they be so~: a concessive clause = granted that the evils turn
out to be what you imagined. The alternative is given in l. 364.

362. ~What need~, etc., _i.e._ why should a man anticipate his hour of
sorrow. 'What' = for what (Lat. _quid_): comp. l. 752; also _On
Shakespeare_, 6, "_What need'st_ thou such weak witness of thy name?" On
the verb _need_ Abbott, § 297, says: "It is often found with 'what,'
where it is sometimes hard to say whether 'what' is an adverb and 'need'
a verb, or 'what' an adjective and 'need' a noun. 'What need the bridge
much broader than the flood?' _M. Ado_, i. 1. 318; either '_why need_
the bridge (be) broader?' or '_what need_ is there (that) the bridge
(be) broader?'"

363. Compare Hamlet's famous soliloquy, "rather bear those ills we
have," etc.; and Pope's _Essay on Man_, "Heaven from all creatures hides
the book of fate," etc.

366. ~to seek~, at a loss. Compare _Par. Lost_, viii. 197: "Unpractised,
unprepared, and still _to seek_." Bacon, in _Adv. of Learning_, has:
"Men bred in learning are perhaps _to seek_ in points of convenience."

367. ~unprincipled in virtue's book~, _i.e._ ignorant of the elements of
virtue. A principle (Lat. _principium_, beginning) is a fundamental
truth; hence the current sense of 'unprincipled,' implying that the man
who has no fixed rules of life is the one who will readily fall into
evil. Comp. _Sams. Agon._ 760, "wisest and best men ... with goodness

368. ~bosoms~, holds within itself. The nom. is 'goodness.' 'Peace' is
governed by 'in,' l. 367.

369. ~As that~, etc. This is an adverbial clause of consequence to
'unprincipled'; in modern English such a clause would be introduced by
'that,' and in Elizabethan English either by 'as' or 'that.' Here we
have both connectives together. ~single~: see note, l. 204. noise, sound.

370. ~Not being in danger~, _i.e._ she not being in danger: absolute
construction. This parenthetical line is equivalent to a conditional
clause--'if she be not in danger, the mere want of light and noise need
not disquiet her.'

371. ~constant~, steadfast.

372. ~misbecoming~: see note on 'misused,' l. 47. ~plight~, condition.
Skeat derives this word from A.S. _pliht_, danger; others connect it with
_pledge_. It is distinct from _plight_, l. 301.

373. ~Virtue could see~, etc. The best commentary on this line is in lines
381-5: comp. Spenser: "Virtue gives herself light through darkness for
to wade," _F. Q._ i. 1. 12.

375. ~flat sea~: comp. _Lyc._ 98, "level brine": Lat. _aequor_, a flat
surface, used of the sea.

376. ~seeks to~, applies herself to. This use of seek is common in the
English Bible: see _Deut._ xii. 5, "_unto_ his habitation shall ye
_seek_"; _Isaiah_, viii. 19, xi. 10, xix. 3; i. _Kings_, x. 24.

377. ~her best nurse, Contemplation~. The wise man loves contemplation and
solitude: comp. _Il Penseroso_, 51, where "the Cherub Contemplation" is
the "first and chiefest" of Melancholy's companions. In Sidney's
_Arcadia_, "Solitariness" is "the nurse of these contemplations."

378. ~plumes~. Some would read _prunes_, both words being used of a bird's
smoothing or trimming its feathers--or (more strictly) picking out
damaged feathers. See Skeat's _Dictionary_, and compare Pope's line,
"Where Contemplation _prunes_ her ruffled wings."

379. ~various~, varied: comp. l. 22. The 'bustle of resort' is in
_L'Allegro_ the 'busy hum of men.'

380. ~all to-ruffled~. Milton wrote "all to ruffled," which may be
interpreted in various ways: (1) all to-ruffled, (2) all too ruffled,
(3) all-to ruffled. The first of these is given in the text as it is
etymologically correct: _to_ is an intensive prefix as in 'to-break' =
to break in pieces; 'to-tear' = to tear asunder, etc.; while _all_ (=
quite) is simply an adverb modifying _to-ruffled_. But about 1500 A.D.
this idiom was misunderstood, and the prefix _to_ was detached from the
verb and either read along with _all_ (thus all-to = altogether), or
confused with _too_ (thus all-to = too too, decidedly too). It is
doubtful in which sense Milton used the phrase; like Shakespeare, he may
have disregarded its origin. See Morris, § 324; Abbott, §§ 28, 436.

381. ~He that has light~, etc. Comp. _Par. Lost_, i. 254: 'The mind is
its own place,' etc.

382. ~centre~, _i.e._ centre of the earth: comp. _Par. Lost_ i. 686, "Men
also ... Ransacked the _centre_"; and _Hymn Nat._ 162, "The aged Earth
... Shall from the surface to the _centre_ shake." Sometimes the word
'centre' was used of the Earth itself, the _fixed_ centre of the whole
universe according to the Ptolemaic system. The idea here conveyed,
however, is not that of immovability (as in _Par. Reg._ iv. 534, "as a
_centre_ firm") but of utter darkness.

385. ~his own dungeon~: comp. _Sams. Agon._ 156, "Thou art become (O worst
imprisonment!) The _dungeon_ of thyself."

386. ~most affects~: has the greatest liking for. It now generally denotes
rather a feigned than a real liking: comp. _pretend_. Lines 386-392 may
be compared with _Il Pens._ 167-174.

393. ~Hesperian tree~. An allusion to the tree on which grew the golden
apples of Juno, which were guarded by the Hesperides and the sleepless
dragon Ladon. Hence the reference to the 'dragon watch': comp.
Tennyson's _Dream of Fair Women_, 255, "Those dragon eyes of anger'd
Eleanor Do hunt me, day and night." See also ll. 981-983.

395. ~unenchanted~, superior to all the powers of enchantment, not to be
enchanted. Similarly Milton has 'unreproved' for 'not reprovable,'
'unvalued' for 'invaluable,' etc.; and Shakespeare has 'unavoided' for
'inevitable,' 'imagined' for 'imaginable,' etc. Abbott (§ 375) says: The
passive participle is often used to signify, not that which _was_ and
_is_, but that which _was_ and therefore _can be hereafter_; in other
words _-ed_ is used for _-able_.

396. Compare Chaucer, _Doctor's Tale_, 44, "She flowered in virginity,
With all humility and abstinence."

398. ~unsunned~, hidden. Comp. _Cym._ ii. 5. 13, "As chaste as _unsunned_
snow"; _F. Q._ ii. 7, "Mammon ... _Sunning_ his treasure hoar."

400. ~as bid me hope~, etc. The construction is, 'as (you may) bid me (to)
hope (that) Danger will wink on Opportunity and (that Danger will) let a
single helpless maiden pass uninjured.'

401. ~Danger will wink on~, etc., _i.e._ danger will shut its eyes to an
opportunity. To _wink on_ or _wink at_ is to connive, to refuse to see
something: comp. _Macbeth_, i. 4. 52, "The eye _wink_ at the hand";
_Acts_, xvii. 30. Warton notes a similar argument by Rosalind in _As You
Like It_, i. 3. 113: "Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold."

403. ~surrounding~. Milton is said to be the first author of any note who
uses this word in its current sense of 'encompassing,' which it has
acquired through a supposed connection with _round_. Shakespeare does
not use it. Its original sense is 'to overflow' (Lat. _superundare_).

404. ~it recks me not~, _i.e._ I do not heed: an impersonal use of the old
verb _reck_ (A.S. _récan_, to care). Comp. _Lyc._ 122, "What _recks_ it

405. ~dog them both~, _i.e._ follow closely upon night and loneliness.
Comp. _All's Well_, iii. 4. 15, "death and danger _dogs_ the heels of

407. ~unownèd~, _i.e._ 'thinking her to be unowned,' or 'as if unowned.'
Milton thus, as in Latin, frequently condenses a clause into a

408. ~infer~, reason, argue. This use of the word is obsolete. See
Shakespeare, iii. _Hen. VI._ ii. 2. 44, "_Inferring_ arguments of mighty
force"; _K. John_, iii. 1. 213, "Need must needs _infer_ this
principle": also _Par. Lost_, viii. 91, "great or bright _infers_ not

409. ~without all doubt~, _i.e._ beyond all doubt: a Latinism = _sine omni

411. ~arbitrate the event~, judge of the result. The meaning is 'Where the
result depends equally upon circumstances to be hoped and to be dreaded
I incline to hope.'

413. ~squint suspicion~. Compare Quarles: "Heart-gnawing Hatred, and
squint-eyed Suspicion." To look askance or sideways frequently indicates

419. ~if Heaven gave it~, _i.e._ even _although_ Heaven gave it.

420. ~'Tis chastity~. "The passage which begins here and ends at line 475
is a concentrated expression of the moral of the whole Masque, and an
exposition also of a cardinal idea of Milton's philosophy" (Masson).

421. ~clad in complete steel~, _i.e._ completely armed; comp. _Hamlet_, i.
4. 52, where the phrase occurs. The accent is on the first syllable.

422. ~quivered nymph~. The chaste Diana of the Romans was armed with bow
and quiver; and Shakespeare makes virginity "Diana's livery." So in
Spenser, Belphoebe, the personification of Chastity, has "at her back a
bow and quiver gay." 'Quivered' is the Latin _pharetrata_.

423. ~trace~, traverse, track. ~unharboured~, affording no shelter.
Radically, a harbour is a lodging or shelter.

424. ~Infámous~, having a bad name, ill-famed: a Latinism. The word now
implies disgrace or guilt. It is here accented on the penult.

425. ~sacred rays~: comp. l. 782.

426. ~bandite or mountaineer~. 'Bandite' (in Shakespeare _bandetto_, and
now _bandit_) is borrowed from the Italian _bandito_, outlawed or
_banned_. 'Mountaineer,' here used in a bad sense. In modern English it
has reverted to its original sense--a dweller in mountains. The dwellers
in mountains are often fierce and readily become freebooters: hence the
changes of meaning. See _Temp._ iii. 3. 44, "Who would believe that
there were _mountaineers_ Dew-lapp'd like bulls"; also _Cym._ iv. 2.
120, "Who called me traitor, _mountaineer_."

428. ~very desolation~. Very (as an adj.) = true or real and may be traced
to Lat. _verus_ = true: comp. l. 646.

429. ~shagged ... shades~. 'Shagged' is rugged or shaggy, and 'horrid' is
probably used in the Latin sense of 'rough': see note, l. 38.

430. ~unblenched~, undaunted, unflinching. This word, sometimes confounded
with 'unblanched,' is from _blench_, a causal of _blink_.

431. ~Be it not~: a conditional clause = on condition that it be not.

432. ~Some say~, etc. Compare _Hamlet_, i. 1. 158:

    "Some say that, ever against that season comes
    Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
    The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
    And then, they say, no spirit dares stir abroad."

433. ~In fog or fire~, etc. Comp. _Il Pens._ 93, "those demons that are
found In fire, air, flood, or underground": an allusion to the different
orders and powers of demons as accepted in the Middle Ages. Burton, in
his _Anat. of Mel._, quotes from a writer who thus enumerates the kinds
of sublunary spirits--"fiery, aerial, terrestrial, watery, and
subterranean, besides fairies, satyrs, nymphs, etc."

434. ~meagre hag~, lean witch. _Hag_ is from A.S. _haegtesse_, a
prophetess or witch. Comp. _Par. Lost_, ii. 662; _M. W. of W._ iv. 2.
188, "Come down, you witch, you _hag_." ~unlaid ghost~, unpacified or
wandering spirit. It was a superstition that ghosts left the world of
spirits and wandered on the earth from the hour of curfew (see _Temp._
v. 1. 40; _King Lear_, iii. 4. 120, "This is the foul fiend
Flibbertigibbet; he begins at curfew," etc.) until "the first cock his
matin rings" (_L'Alleg._ 14). 'Curfew' (Fr. _couvre-feu_ = fire-cover),
the bell that was rung at eight or nine o'clock in the evening as a
signal that all fires and lights were to be extinguished.

436. ~swart faery of the mine~. In Burton's _Anat. of Mel._ we read,
"Subterranean devils are as common as the rest, and do as much harm.
Olaus Magnus makes six kinds of them, some bigger, some less. These are
commonly seen about mines of metals," etc. Warton quotes from an old
writer: "Pioneers or diggers for metal do affirm that in many mines
there appear strange shapes and spirits who are apparelled like unto the
labourers in the pit." 'Swart' (also _swarty_, _swarth_, and _swarthy_)
here means black: in Scandinavian mythology these subterranean spirits
were called the _Svartalfar_, or black elves. Comp. _Lyc._ 138, "the
_swart_ star," where 'swart' = swart making.

438. ~Do ye believe~. _Ye_ is properly a second person plural, but (like
_you_) is frequently used as a singular: for examples, see Abbott, §

439. ~old schools of Greece~. The brother now turns for his arguments from
the mediaeval mythology of Northern Europe to the ancient legends of

440. ~to testify~, to bear witness to: comp. l. 248, 421.

441. ~Dian~. Diana was the huntress among the immortals: she was
insensible to the bolts of Cupid, _i.e._ to the power of love. She was
the protectress of the flocks and game from beasts of prey, and at the
same time was believed to send plagues and sudden deaths among men and
animals. Comp. the song to Cynthia (Diana) in _Cynthia's Revels_, v. 1,
"Queen and huntress, chaste and fair," etc.

442. ~silver-shafted queen~. The epithet is applicable to Diana both as
huntress and goddess of the moon: as the former she bore arrows which
were frequently called _shafts_, and as the latter she bore shafts or
rays of light. _Shaft_ is etymologically 'a _shaven_ rod.' In Chaucer,
_C. T._ 1364, 'shaft' = arrow.

443. ~brinded lioness~. 'Brinded' = brindled or streaked. Comp. "_brinded_
cat," _Macb._ iv. 1. 1: _brind_ is etymologically connected with

444. ~mountain-pard~, _i.e._ panther or other spotted wild beast. _Pard_,
originally a Persian word, is common in the compounds leo-_pard_ and

445. ~frivolous ... Cupid~. See the speech of Oberon, _M. N. D._ ii. 1.
65. The epithet 'frivolous' applies to Cupid in his lower character as
the wanton god of sensual love, not in his character as the fair Eros
who unites all the discordant elements of the universe: see note, l.

447. ~snaky-headed Gorgon shield~. Medusa was one of the three Gorgons,
frightful beings, whose heads were covered with hissing serpents, and
who had wings, brazen claws, and huge teeth. Whoever looked at Medusa
was turned into stone, but Perseus, by the aid of enchantment, slew her.
Minerva (Athene) placed the monster's head in the centre of her shield,
which confounded Cupid: see _Par. Lost_, ii. 610.

449. ~freezed~, froze. The adjective 'congealed' is used proleptically,
the meaning being 'froze into a stone so that it was congealed.'

450. ~But~, except: a preposition.

451. ~dashed~, confounded: this meaning of the word is obsolete.

452. ~blank awe~: the awe of one amazed. Comp. the phrase, 'blank
astonishment,' and see _Par. Lost_, ix. 890.

454. ~so~, _i.e._ chaste.

455. ~liveried angels lackey her~, _i.e._ ministering angels attend her.
So, in _L'Alleg._ 62, "the clouds in thousand _liveries_ dight"; a
servant's livery being the distinctive dress _delivered_ to him by his
master. 'Lackey,' to wait upon, from 'lackey' (or lacquey), a footboy,
who runs by the side of his master. The word is here used in a good
sense, without implying servility (as in _Ant. and Cleop._ i. 4. 46,
"_lackeying_ the varying tide"). 'Her': the soul. Milton is fond of the
feminine personification: see line 396.

457. ~vision~: a trisyllable.

458. ~no gross ear~. See notes, l. 112 and 997.

459. ~oft converse~, frequent communion. _Oft_ is here used adjectively:
this use is common in the English Bible, _e.g._ i. _Tim._ v. 23, "thine
_often_ infirmities."

460. ~Begin to cast ... turns~. 'Begin' is subjunctive; 'turns' is
indicative: the latter may be used to convey greater certainty and

461. ~temple of the mind~, _i.e._ the body. This metaphor is common: see
Shakespeare, _Temp._ i. 2. 57, "There's nothing ill can dwell in such a
_temple_"; and the Bible, _John_, ii. 21, "He spake of the _temple_ of
his body."

462. ~the soul's essence~. As if, by a life of purity, the body gradually
became spiritualised, and therefore partook of the soul's immortality.

465. ~most~, above all.

467. ~soul grows clotted~. This doctrine is expounded in Plato's _Phaedo_,
in a conversation between Socrates and Cebes:

     _Socrates_ (speaking of the pure soul). That soul, I say, herself
     invisible, departs to the invisible world--to the divine and
     immortal and rational: thither arriving, she is secure of bliss,
     and is released from the error and folly of men, their fears and
     wild passions and all other human ills, and for ever dwells, as
     they say of the initiated, in company with the gods. Is not this
     true, Cebes?

     _Cebes._ Yes; beyond a doubt.

     _Soc._ But the soul which has been polluted, and is impure at the
     time of her departure, and is the companion and servant of the body
     always, and is in love with and fascinated by the body and by the
     desires and pleasures of the body, until she is led to believe that
     the truth only exists in a bodily form, which a man may touch and
     see and taste, and use for the purposes of his lusts--the soul, I
     mean, accustomed to hate and fear and avoid the intellectual
     principle, which to the bodily eye is dark and invisible and can be
     attained only by philosophy;--do you suppose that such a soul will
     depart pure and unalloyed?

     _Ceb._ That is impossible.

     _Soc._ She is held fast by the corporeal, which the continual
     association and constant care of the body have wrought into her

     _Ceb._ Very true.

     _Soc._ And this corporeal element, my friend, is heavy and weighty
     and earthy, and is that element by which such a soul is depressed
     and dragged down again into the visible world, because she is
     afraid of the invisible and of the world below--prowling about
     tombs and sepulchres, in the neighbourhood of which, as they tell
     us, are seen certain ghostly apparitions of souls which have not
     departed pure, but are cloyed with sight and therefore visible.

     _Ceb._ That is very likely, Socrates.

     _Soc._ Yes, that is very likely, Cebes; and these must be the
     souls, not of the good, but of the evil, who are compelled to
     wander about such places in payment of the penalty of their former
     evil way of life; and they continue to wander until through the
     craving after the corporeal which never leaves them, they are
     imprisoned finally in another body. And they may be supposed to
     find their prisons in the same natures which they have had in their
     former lives.

Further on in the same dialogue, Socrates says:

     Each pleasure and pain is a sort of nail which nails and rivets the
     soul to the body, until she becomes like the body, and believes
     that to be true which the body affirms to be true; and from
     agreeing with the body, and having the same delights, she is
     obliged to have the same habits and haunts, and is not likely ever
     to be pure at her departure, but is always infected by the
     body.--_Extracted from Jowett's Translation of the Dialogues._

468. ~imbodies and imbrutes~, _i.e._ becomes materialised and brutish.
_Imbody_, ordinarily used as a transitive verb, is here intransitive.
_Imbrute_ (said to have been coined by Milton) is also intransitive; in
_Par. Lost_, ix. 166, it is transitive. The use of the word may have
been suggested by the _Phaedo_, where the souls of the wicked are said
to "find their prisons in the same natures which they have had in their
former lives," those of gluttons and drunkards passing into asses and
animals of that sort.

469. ~divine property~. In his prose works Milton calls the soul 'that
divine particle of God's breathing': comp. Horace, _Sat._ ii. 2. 79,
"affigit humo _divinae particulam aurae_"; and Plato's _Phaedo_, "The
soul resembles the divine, and the body the mortal."

470. ~gloomy shadows damp~: see note, l. 207.

471. ~charnel-vaults~, burial vaults. 'Charnel' (O.F. _charnel_, Lat.
_carnalis_; _caro_, flesh): comp. 'carnal,' l. 474.

473. ~As loth~, etc. The construction is: 'As (being) loth to leave the
body that it loved, and (as having) linked itself to a degenerate and
degraded state.' ~it~: by syntax this pronoun refers to 'shadows,' or (in
thought) '_such_ shadow.' It seems best, however, to connect it with
'soul,' line 467.

474. ~sensualty~. The modern form of the word is _sensuality_.

475. ~degenerate and degraded~: the former because 'imbodied,' the latter
because 'imbruted.'

476. ~divine Philosophy~, _i.e._ such philosophy as is to be found in "the
divine volume of Plato" (as Milton has called it).

477. ~crabbed~, sour or bitter: comp. crab-apple. _Crab_ (a shell-fish)
and _crab_ (a kind of apple) are radically connected, both conveying the
idea of scratching or pinching (Skeat).

478. ~Apollo's lute~: Apollo being the god of song and music. Comp. _Par.
Reg._ i. 478-480; _L. L. L._ iv. 3. 342, "as sweet and musical As bright
_Apollo's lute_, strung with his hair."

479. ~nectared sweets~. Nectar (Gk. νέκταρ, the drink of the
gods) is repeatedly used by Milton to express the greatest sweetness:
see l. 838; _Par. Lost_, iv. 333, "Nectarine fruits"; v. 306, 426.

482. ~Methought~: see note, l. 171. ~what should it be?~ This is a direct
question about a past event, and means 'What was it likely to be?' "It
seems to increase the emphasis of the interrogation, since a doubt about
the past (time having been given for investigation) implies more
perplexity than a doubt about the future" (Abbott, § 325). ~For certain~,
_i.e._ for certain truth, certainly.

483. ~night-foundered~; benighted, lost in the darkness. Radically, 'to
founder' is to go to the bottom (Fr. _fondrer_; Lat. _fundus_, the
bottom), hence applied to ships; it is also applied to horses sinking in
a slough. The compound is Miltonic (see _Par. Lost_, i. 204), and is
sometimes stigmatised as meaningless; on the contrary, it is very
expressive, implying that the brothers are swallowed up in night and
have lost their way. 'Founder' is here used in the secondary sense of
'to be lost' or 'to be in distress.'

484. ~neighbour~. An adjective, as in line 576, and frequently in
Shakespeare. Neighbour = nigh-boor, _i.e._ a peasant dwelling near.

487. ~Best draw~: we had best draw our swords.

489. ~Defence is a good cause~, etc., _i.e._ 'in defending ourselves we
are engaged in a good cause, and may Heaven be on our side.'

490. ~That hallo~. We are to understand that the Attendant Spirit has
halloed just before entering; this is shown by the stage-direction given
in the edition of _Comus_ printed by Lawes in 1637: _He hallos; the
Guardian Dæmon hallos again, and enters in the habit of a shepherd._

491. ~you fall~, etc., _i.e._ otherwise you will fall on our swords.

493. ~sure~: see note, l. 246.

494. ~Thyrsis~, Like Lycidas, this name is common in pastoral poetry. In
Milton's _Epitaphium Damonis_ it stands for Milton himself; in _Comus_
it belongs to Lawes, who now receives additional praise for his musical
genius. In lines 86-88 the compliment is enforced by alliterative
verses, and here by the aid of rhyme (495-512). Masson thinks that the
poet, having spoken of the madrigals of Thyrsis, may have introduced
this rhymed passage in order to prolong the feeling of Pastoralism by
calling up the cadence of known English pastoral poems.

495. ~sweetened ... dale~; poetical exaggeration or hyperbole, implying
that fragrant flowers became even more fragrant from Thyrsis' music.

496. ~huddling~. This conveys the two ideas of hastening and crowding:
comp. Horace, _Ars Poetica_, 19, "Et _properantis_ aquae per amoenos
ambitus agros." ~madrigal~: a pastoral or shepherd's song (Ital. _mandra_,
a flock): such compositions, then in favour, had been made by Lawes and
by Milton's father.

497. ~swain~: a word of common use in pastoral poetry. It denotes strictly
a peasant or, more correctly, a young man: comp. the compounds
boat-_swain_, cox-_swain_. See _Arc._ 26, "Stay, gentle _swains_," etc.

499. ~pent~, penned, participle of _pen_, to shut up (A.S. _pennan_, which
is connected with _pin_, seen in _pin_-fold, l. 7). ~forsook~: a form of
the past tense used for the participle.

501. ~and his next joy~, _i.e._ 'and (thou), his next joy'--words
addressed to the second brother.

502. ~trivial toy~, ordinary trifle. The phrase seems redundant, but
'trivial' may here be used in the strict sense of common or well-known.
Compare _Il Pens._ 4, "fill the fixed mind with all your _toys_"; and
Burton's _Anat. of Mel._, "complain of _toys_, and fear without a

503. ~stealth of~, things stolen by.

506. ~To this my errand~, etc., _i.e._ in comparison with this errand of
mine and the anxiety it involved. 'To' = in comparison with; an idiom
common in Elizabethan English, _e.g._ "There is no woe _to_ this
correction," _Two Gent._ ii. 4. 138. See Abbott, § 187.

508. ~How chance~. _Chance_ is here a verb followed by a substantive
clause: 'how does it chance that,' etc. This idiom is common in
Shakespeare (Abbott, § 37), where it sometimes has the force of an
adverb (= perchance): compare _Par. Lost_, ii. 492: "If chance the
radiant sun, with farewell sweet," etc.

509. ~sadly~, seriously. Radically, sad = sated or full (A.S. _saed_);
hence the two meanings, 'serious' and 'sorrowful,' the former being
common in Spenser, Bacon, and Shakespeare. Comp. 'some _sad_ person of
known judgment' (Bacon); _Romeo and Jul._ i. 1. 205, "Tell me in
_sadness_, who is that you love"; _Par. Lost_, vi. 541, "settled in his
face I see _Sad_ resolution." See also Swinburne's _Miscellanies_
(1886), page 170.

510. ~our neglect~, _i.e._ neglect on our part.

511. ~Ay me~! Comp. _Lyc._ 56, "Ay me! I fondly dream"; 154. This
exclamatory phrase = ah me! Its form is due to the French _aymi_ = alas,
for me! and has no connection with _ay_ or _aye_ = yes. In this line
_true_ rhymes with _shew_: comp. _youth_ and _shew'th_, _Sonnet on his
having arrived at the age of twenty-three_.

512. ~Prithee~. A familiar fusion of _I pray thee_, sometimes written
'pr'ythee.' Lines 495-512 form nine rhymed couplets.

513. ~ye~: a dative. See note on l. 216.

514. ~shallow~. Comp. _Son._ i. 6, "_shallow_ cuckoo's bill," xii_a_. 12;
_Arc._ 41, "_shallow_-searching Fame."

515. ~sage poets~. Homer and Virgil are meant; both of these mention the
chimera. Milton (_Par. Lost_, iii. 19) afterwards speaks of himself as
"taught by the heavenly Muse." Comp. _L'Alleg._ 17; _Il Pens._ 117,
"great bards besides In sage and solemn tunes have sung."

516. ~storied~, related: 'To story' is here used actively: the past
participle is frequent in the sense of 'bearing a story or picture'; _Il
Pens._ 159, "storied windows"; Gray's _Elegy_, 41, "storied urn";
Tennyson's "storied walls." _Story_ is an abbreviation of _history_.

517. ~Chimeras~, monsters. Comp. the sublime passage in _Par. Lost_, ii.
618-628. The Chimera was a fire-breathing monster, with the head of a
lion, the tail of a dragon, and the body of a goat. It was slain by
Bellerophon. As a common name 'chimera' is used by Milton to denote a
terrible monster, and is now current (in an age which rejects such
fabulous creatures) in the sense of a wild fancy; hence the adj.
_chimerical_ = wild or fanciful. ~enchanted isles~, _e.g._ those of Circe
and Calypso, mentioned in the _Odyssey_.

518. ~rifted rocks~: rifted = riven. Orpheus, in search of Eurydice,
entered the lower world through the rocky jaws of Taenarus, a cape in
the south of Greece (see Virgil _Georg._ iv. 467, _Taenarias fauces_);
here also Hercules emerged from Hell with the captive Cerberus.

519. ~such there be~. See note on l. 12 for this indicative use of _be_.

520. ~navel~, centre, inmost recess. Shakespeare (_Cor._ iii. l. 123)
speaks of the 'navel of the state'; and in Greek Calypso's island was
'the navel of the sea,' while Apollo's temple at Delphi was 'the navel
of the earth.'

521. ~Immured~, enclosed. Here used generally: radically it = shut up
within walls (Lat. _murus_, a wall).

523. ~witcheries~, enchantments.

526. ~murmurs~. The incantations or spells of evil powers were sung or
murmured over the doomed object; sometimes they were muttered (as here)
over the enchanted food or drink prepared for the victim. Comp. l. 817
and _Arc._ 60, "With puissant words and _murmurs_ made to bless."

529. ~unmoulding reason's mintage charactered~, _i.e._ defacing those
signs of a rational soul that are stamped on the human face. The figure
is taken from the process of melting down coins in order to restamp
them. 'Charactered': here used in its primary sense (Gk. χαρακτήρ, an
engraven or stamped mark), as in the phrase 'printed characters.' The
word is here accented on the second syllable; in modern English on the

531. ~crofts that brow~ = crofts that overhang. Croft = a small field,
generally adjoining a house. Brow = overhang: comp. _L'Alleg._ 8,
"low-browed rocks."

532. ~bottom glade~: the glade below. The word _bottom_, however, is
frequent in Shakespeare in the sense of 'valley'; hence 'bottom glade'
might be interpreted 'glade in the valley.'

533. ~monstrous rout~; see note on the stage-direction after l. 92. Comp.
'the bottom of the monstrous world,' _Lyc._ 158. In _Aen._ vii. 15, we
read that when Aeneas sailed past Circe's island he heard "the growling
noise of lions in wrath, ... and shapes of huge wolves fiercely howling."

534. ~stabled wolves~, wolves in their dens. _Stable_ (= a standing-place)
is used by Milton in the general sense of abode, _e.g._ in _Par. Lost_,
xi. 752, "sea-monsters whelped and _stabled_." Comp. "Stable for
camels," _Ezek._ xxv. 5, and the Latin _stabulum_, _Aen._ vi. 179,
_stabula alta ferarum_.

535. ~Hecate~: see l. 135.

536. ~bowers~: see note, l. 45.

539. ~unweeting~; unwitting, unknowing. This spelling is found in
Spenser's _Faerie Queene_, both in the compounds and in the simple verb
_weet_, a corruption of _wit_ (A.S. _witan_, to know). Compare _Par.
Reg._ i. 126, "_unweeting_, he fulfilled The purposed counsel." _Sams.
Agon._ 1680; Chaucer, _Doctor's Tale_, "Virginius came _to weet_ the
judge's will."

540. ~by then~, _i.e._ by the time when. The demonstrative adverb thus
implies a relative adverb: comp. the Greek, where the demonstrative is
generally omitted, though in Homer occasionally the demonstrative alone
is used. Another rendering is to make line 540 parenthetical.

542. ~knot-grass~. A grass with knotted or jointed stem: some, however,
suppose marjoram to be intended here. ~dew-besprent~, _i.e._ besprinkled
with dew: comp. _Lyc._ 29. _Be_ is an intensive prefix; _sprent_ is
connected with M.E. _sprengen_, to scatter, of which _sprinkle_ is the
frequentative form.

543. ~sat me down~: see note, l. 61.

544. ~canopied, and interwove~. Comp. _M. N. D._ ii. 2. 49, 'I know a
bank,' etc. In sense 'canopied' refers to 'bank,' and 'interwove' to
'ivy.' There are two forms of the past participle of _weave_, viz.
_wove_ and _woven_: see _Arc._ 47.

545. ~flaunting~, showy, garish. In _Lyc._ 146, the poet first wrote
'garish columbine,' then 'well-attired woodbine.'

547. ~meditate ... minstrelsy~, _i.e._ to sing a pastoral song: comp.
_Lyc._ 32. 66. _To meditate the muse_ is a Virgilian phrase: see _Ecl._
i. and vi. The Lat. _meditor_ has the meaning of 'to apply one's self
to,' and does not mean merely to ponder.

548. ~had~, should have: comp. l. 394. ~ere a close~, _i.e._ before he had
finished his song (Masson). _Close_ occurs in the technical sense of
'the final cadence of a piece of music.'

549. ~wonted~: see note, l. 332.

550. ~barbarous~: comp. _Son._ xii. 3, "a _barbarous_ noise environs me Of
owls and cuckoos, etc."

551. ~listened them~. The omission of _to_ after verbs of hearing is
frequent in Shakespeare and others: comp. "To listen our purpose"; "List
a brief tale"; "hearken the end"; etc. (see Abbott, § 199). 'Them': this
refers to the _sounds_ implied in 'dissonance.'

552. ~unusual stop~. This refers to what happened at l. 145, and the "soft
and solemn-breathing sound" to l. 230.

553. ~drowsy frighted~, _i.e._ drowsy and frighted. The noise of Comus's
rout is here supposed to have kept the horses of night awake and in a
state of drowsy agitation until the sudden calm put an end to their
uneasiness. In Milton's corrected MS. we read 'drowsy flighted,' where
the two words are not co-ordinate epithets but must be regarded as
expressing one idea = flying drowsily; to express this some insert a
hyphen. Comp. 'dewy-feathered,' _Il Pens._ 146, and others of Milton's
remarkable compound adjectives. The reading in the text is that of the
printed editions of 1637, '45, and '73.

554. ~Sleep~ (or Night) is represented as drawn by horses in a chariot
with its curtains closely drawn. Comp. _Macbeth_, ii. l. 51, "curtained

555. 'The lady's song rose into the air so sweetly and imperceptibly
that silence was taken unawares and so charmed that she would gladly
have renounced her nature and existence for ever if her place could
always be filled by such music.' Comp. _Par. Lost_, iv. 604, "She all
night long her amorous descant sung; _Silence was pleased_"; also
Jonson's _Vision of Delight_:

    "Yet let it like an odour rise
    To all the senses here,
    And fall like sleep upon their eyes,
    Or music in their ear."

558. ~took~, taken. Comp. l. 256 for a similar use of _take_, and compare
'forsook,' line 499, for the form of the word.

560. ~Still~, always. This use of _still_ is frequent in Elizabethan
writers (Abbott, § 69). ~I was all ear~. Warton notes this expressive
idiom (still current) in Drummond's 'Sonnet to the Nightingale,' and in
_Tempest_, iv. l. 59, "all eyes." _All_ is an attribute of _I_.

561. ~create a soul~, etc., _i.e._ breathe life even into the dead: comp.
_L'Alleg._ 144. Warton supposes that Milton may have seen a picture in
an old edition of Quarles' _Emblems_, in which "a soul in the figure of
an infant is represented within the ribs of a skeleton, as in its
prison." _Rom._ vii. 24, "Who shall deliver me out of the body of this

565. ~harrowed~, distracted, torn as by a _harrow_. This is probably the
meaning, but there is a verb 'harrow' corrupted from 'harry,' to subdue;
hence some read "harried with grief and fear."

567. ~How sweet ... how near~. This sentence contains two exclamations:
this is a Greek construction. In English the idiom is "How sweet ...
_and_ how near," etc. We may, however, render the line thus: "How
sweet..., how near the deadly snare _is_!"

568. ~lawns~. 'Lawn' is always used by Milton to denote an open stretch of
grassy ground, whereas in modern usage it is applied generally to a
smooth piece of grass-grown land in front of a house. The origin of the
word is disputed, but it seems radically to denote 'a clear space'; it
is said to be cognate with _llan_ used as a prefix in the names of
certain Welsh towns, _e.g._ Llandaff, Llangollen. In Chaucer it takes
the form launde.

569. ~often trod by day~, which I have often trod by day, and therefore
know well.

570. ~mine ear~: see note, l. 171.

571. ~wizard~. Here used in contempt, like many other words with the
suffix _-ard_, or _-art_, as braggart, sluggard, etc. Milton
occasionally, however, uses the word merely in the sense of magician or
magical, without implying contempt: see _Lyc._ 55, "Deva spreads her
_wizard_ stream."

572. ~certain signs~: see l. 644.

574. ~aidless~: an obsolete word. See Trench's _English Past and Present_
for a list of about 150 words in _-less_, all now obsolete: comp. l. 92,
note. ~wished~: wished for. Comp. l. 950 for a similar transitive use of
the verb.

575. ~such two~: two persons of such and such description.

577. ~durst not stay~. _Durst_ is the old past tense of _dare_, and is
used as an auxiliary: the form _dared_ is much more modern, and may be
used as an independent verb.

578. ~sprung~: see note, l. 256.

579. ~till I had found~. The language is extremely condensed here, the
meaning being, 'I began my flight, and continued to run till I _had
found_ you'; the pluperfect tense is used because the speaker is looking
back upon his meeting with the brothers after completing a long
narration of the circumstances that led up to it. If, however, 'had
found' be regarded as a subjunctive, the meaning is, 'I began my flight,
and determined to continue it until I had found (_i.e._ should have
found) you.' Comp. Abbott § 361.

581. ~triple knot~, a three-fold alliance of Night, Shades, and Hell.

584. "This confidence of the elder brother in favour of the final
efficacy of virtue, holds forth a very high strain of philosophy,
delivered in as high strains of eloquence and poetry" (Warton). And Todd
adds: "Religion here gave energy to the poet's strains."

585. ~safely~, confidently. ~period~, sentence.

586. ~for me~, _i.e._ for my part, so far as I am concerned: see note, l.

588. ~Which erring men call Chance~. 'Erring' belongs to the predicate;
"which men erroneously call Chance." Comp. Pope, _Essay on Man_:

    "All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
    All chance, direction, which thou canst not see."

588. ~this I hold firm~. 'This' is explained by the next line: "this
belief, namely, that Virtue may be assailed, etc., I hold firmly."

590. ~enthralled~, enslaved. Comp. l. 1022.

591. ~which ... harm~, which the Evil Power intended to be most harmful.

595-7. ~Gathered like scum~, etc. According to one editor, this image is
"taken from the conjectures of astronomers concerning the dark spots
which from time to time appear on the surface of the sun's body and
after a while disappear again; which they suppose to be the scum of that
fiery matter which first breeds it, and then breaks through and consumes

598. ~pillared firmament~. The firmament (Lat. _firmus_, firm or solid) is
here regarded as the roof of the earth and supported on pillars. The
ancients believed the stars to be fixed in the solid firmament: comp.
_Par. Reg._ iv. 55; also _Wint. Tale_, ii. l. 100, "If I mistake In
those foundations which I build upon, The centre is not big enough to
bear A schoolboy's top."

602. ~for~, as regards. ~let ... girt~, though he be surrounded.

603. ~grisly legions~. 'Grisly,' radically the same as _grue-some_ =
horrible, causing terror. In _Par. Lost_, iv. 821, Satan is called "the
grisly king." 'Legions' is here a trisyllable.

604. ~sooty flag of Acheron~. Acheron, at first the name of a river of the
lower world, came to be used as a name for the whole of the lower world
generally. Todd quotes from P. Fletcher's _Locusts_ (1627): "All hell
run out and sooty flags display."

605. ~Harpies and Hydras~. The Harpies (lit. 'spoilers') were unclean
monsters, being birds with the heads of maidens, with long claws and
gaunt faces. _Hydras_, here used as a general name for monstrous
water-serpents (Gk. _hydōr_, water); the name was first given to the
nine-headed monster slain by Hercules. See _Son._ xv. 7, "new rebellions
raise Their _Hydra_ heads"; the epithet 'hydra-headed' being applied to
a rebellion, an epidemic, or other evil that seems to gain strength from
every endeavour to repress it.

607. ~return his purchase back~, _i.e._ 'give up his spoil,' or (as in the
MS.) 'release his new-got prey.' To purchase (Fr. _pour-chasser_)
originally meant to pursue eagerly, hence to acquire by fair means or
foul: it thus came to mean 'to steal' (as frequently in Spenser, Jonson,
and Shakespeare), and 'to buy' (its current sense). See Trench, _Study
of Words_; _Hen. V._ iii. 2. 45, "They will steal anything, and call it
_purchase_"; i. _Hen. IV._ ii. l. 101, "thou shalt have share in our

609. ~venturous~, ready to venture. See note, l. 79.

610. ~yet~, nevertheless. The meaning is: '_Though_ thy courage is
useless, _yet_ I love it.' ~emprise~: an obsolete form (common in Spenser)
of _enterprise_. It is literally that which is undertaken; hence
'readiness to undertake'; hence 'daring.'

611. ~can do thee little stead~, _i.e._ can help thee little. _Stead_,
both as noun and verb, is obsolete except in certain phrases, _e.g._ 'to
stand in good stead,' and in composition, _e.g._ _stead_fast,
home_stead_, in_stead_, Hamp_stead_, etc. Its strict sense is place or
position: comp. _Il Pens._ 3, "How little you _bested_."

612. ~Far other arms~, _i.e._ very different arms. 'Other' has here its
radical sense of 'different,' and can therefore be modified by an

615. ~unthread~, loosen. Comp. _Temp._ iv. l. 259, "Go charge my goblins
that they grind their joints With dry convulsions, shorten up their
sinews With aged cramps."

617. ~As to make this relation~, _i.e._ as to be able to tell this.

619. ~a certain shepherd lad~. This is supposed to refer to Charles
Diodati, Milton's dearest friend, to whom he addressed his 1st and 6th
elegies, and after whose death he wrote the touching poem _Epitaphium
Damonis_, in which he alludes to his friend's medical and botanical

    "There thou shalt cull me simples, and shalt teach
    Thy friend the name and healing powers of each."

    (_Cowper's translation._)

620. ~Of small regard to see to~: in colloquial English, 'not much to look
at.' This is an old idiom: comp. Greek καλὸς ἰδεῖν: see English
Bible, "goodly to look to," i. _Sam._ xvi. 12; _Ezek._ xxiii. 15; _Jer._
xlvii. 3.

621. ~virtuous~, of healing power: see note, l. 165. Comp. _Il Pens._ 113,
"the virtuous ring and glass."

623. ~beg me sing~: see note, l. 304.

625. ~ecstasy~: see note, l. 261. The Greek _ekstasis_ = standing out of
one's self.

626. ~scrip~, wallet.

627. ~simples~, medicinal herbs. 'Simple' (Lat. _simplicem_, 'one-fold,'
'not compound') was used of a single ingredient in a medicine; hence its
popular use in the sense of 'herb' or 'drug.'

630. ~me~, _i.e._ for me: the ethic dative.

633. ~bore~. The nom. of this verb is, in sense, some such word as the
plant or the root.

634. ~unknown and like esteemed~: known and esteemed to a like extent,
_i.e._ in both cases not at all. _Like_ here corresponds to the prefix
_un_ in _unknown_. On the description of the plant, see Introduction,
reference to Ascham's _Scholemaster_.

635. ~clouted shoon~, patched shoes. The expression is found in
Shakespeare, ii. _Hen. VI._ iv. 2. 195, "Spare none but such as go in
_clouted shoon_"; _Cym._ iv. 2. 214, "put My _clouted brogues_ from off
my feet, whose rudeness Answer'd my steps too loud": see examples in
Mayhew and Skeat's _M. E. Dictionary_. There are instances, however, of
_clout_ in the sense of a plate of iron fastened on the sole of a shoe.
In either sense of the word 'clouted shoon' would be heavy and coarse.
_Shoon_ is an old plural (O.E. _scon_); comp. _hosen_, _eyen_ (= eyes),
_dohtren_ (= daughters), _foen_ (= foes), etc.

636. ~more med'cinal~, of greater virtue. The line may be scanned thus:
And yet | more med | 'cinal is | it than | that Mo | ly. ~Moly~. When
Ulysses was approaching the abode of Circe he was met by Hermes, who
said: "Come then, I will redeem thee from thy distress, and bring
deliverance. Lo, take this herb of virtue, and go to the dwelling of
Circe, that it may keep from thy head the evil day. And I will tell thee
all the magic sleight of Circe. She will mix thee a potion and cast
drugs into the mess; but not even so shall she be able to enchant thee;
so helpful is this charmed herb that I shall give thee ... Therewith the
slayer of Argos gave me the plant that he had plucked from the ground,
and he showed me the growth thereof. It was black at the root, but the
flower was like to milk. _Moly_ the gods call it, but it is hard for
mortal men to dig; howbeit with the gods all things are possible"
(_Odyssey_, x. 280, etc., _Butcher and Lang's translation_). In his
first Elegy Milton alludes to Mōly as the counter-charm to the spells
of Circe: see also Tennyson's _Lotos-Eaters_, "beds of amaranth and

638. ~He called it Hæmony~. _He_ is the shepherd lad of line 619.
_Haemony_: Milton invents the plant, both name and thing. But the
adjective _Haemonian_ is used, in Latin poetry as = _Thessalian_,
Haemonia being the old name of Thessaly. And as Thessaly was regarded as
a land of magic, 'Haemonian' acquired the sense of 'magical' (see Ovid,
_Met._ vii 264, "_Haemonia_ radices valle resectas," etc.), and Milton's
Haemony is simply "the magical plant." Coleridge supposes that by the
prickles and gold flower of the plant Milton signified the sorrows and
triumph of the Christian life.

639. ~sovran use~: see note, l. 41. The use of this adjective with charms,
medicines, or remedies of any kind was so very common that the word came
to imply 'all-healing,' 'supremely efficacious'; see _Cor._ ii. 1. 125,
"The most _sovereign_ prescription in Galen."

640. ~mildew blast~: comp. _Arc._ 48-53, _Ham._ iii. 4. 64, "Here is your
husband; Like a _mildew'd_ ear _Blasting_ his wholesome brother." A
mildew blast is one giving rise to that kind of blight called mildew
(A.S. meledeáw, honey-dew), it being supposed that the prevalence of dry
east winds was favourable to its formation.

642. ~pursed it up~, etc., _i.e._ put it in my wallet, though I did not
attach much importance to it. ~little reckoning~: comp. _Lyc._ 116, where
the very same phrase occurs.

643. ~Till now that~. Here _that_ = when, the clause introduced by it
being explanatory of _now_ (see Abbott, § 284).

646-7. ~Entered ... came off~. 'I entered into the very midst of his
treacherous enchantments, and yet escaped.' _Lime-twigs_ = snares; in
allusion to the practice of catching birds by means of twigs smeared
with a viscous substance (called on that account 'birdlime').
Shakespeare makes repeated allusion to this practice: see _Macbeth_, iv.
2. 34; _Two Gent._ ii. 2. 68; ii. _Hen. VI._ i. 3. 91; etc.

649. ~necromancer's hall~. Warton supposes that Milton here thought of a
magician's castle which has an enchanted hall invaded by Christian
knights, as we read of in the romances of chivalry. _Necromancer_, lit.
one who by magical power can commune with the dead (Gk. νεκρός, a
corpse); hence a sorcerer. From confusion of the first syllable with
that of the Lat. _niger_, black, the art of necromancy came to be called
"the black art."

650. ~Where if he be~, Lat. _ubi si sit_: in English the relative adverb
in such cases is best rendered by a conjunction + a demonstrative
adverb; thus, '_and_ if he be _there_.'

651. ~brandished blade~. Comp. Hermes' advice to Ulysses: "When it shall
be that Circe smites thee with her long wand, even then draw thy sharp
sword from thy thigh, and spring on her, as one eager to slay her,"
_Odyssey_, x. ~break his glass~. An imitation of Spenser, who makes Sir
Guyon break the golden cup of the enchantress Excess, _F. Q._ i. 12,
stanza 56.

652. ~luscious~, delicious. The word is a corruption of _lustious_ from
O.E. _lust_ = pleasure: see note, l. 49.

653. ~But seize his wand~. The force of this injunction is shown by lines

654. ~menace high~, violent threat. _High_ is thus used in a number of
figurative senses, _e.g._ a high wind, a high hand, high passions (_Par.
Lost_, ix. 123), high descent, high design, etc.

655. ~Sons of Vulcan~. In the _Aeneid_ (Bk. viii. 252) we are told that
Cacus, son of Vulcan (the Roman God of Fire), "vomited from his throat
huge volumes of smoke" when pursued by Hercules, "_Faucibus ingentem
fumum_," etc.

657. ~apace~; quickly, at a great pace. This word has changed its
meaning: in Chaucer it means 'at a foot pace,' _i.e._ slowly. The first
syllable is the indefinite article '_a_' = one (Skeat).

658. ~bear~: the subjunctive used optatively (Abbott, § 365). (_Stage
Direction_) ~puts by~: puts on one side, refuses. ~goes about to rise~,
_i.e._ endeavours to rise. This idiomatic use of _go about_ still
lingers in the phrase 'to _go about_ one's business'; comp. 'to _set
about_' anything.

659. ~but~, merely: comp. l. 656. After the conditional clause we have
here a verb in the present tense ('are chained'), a construction which
well expresses the certainty and immediate action of the sorcerer's
spell (see Abbott, § 371).

660. ~your nerves ... alabaster~. Comp. _Tempest_, i. 2. 471-484. Milton
has the word alabaster three times, twice incorrectly spelled
_alablaster_ (in this passage and _Par. Lost_, iv. 544) and once
correctly, as now entered in the text (_Par. Reg._ iv. 548). Alabaster
is a kind of marble: comp. _On Shak._ 14, "make us _marble_ with too
much conceiving."

661. ~or, as Daphne was~, etc. The construction is: 'if I merely wave this
wand, you (become) a marble statue, or (you become) root-bound, as
Daphne was, that fled Apollo.' Milton inserts the adverbial clause in
the predicate, which is not unusual; he then adds an attributive clause,
which is not usual in English, though common in Greek and Latin. Daphne,
an Arcadian goddess, was pursued by Apollo, and having prayed for aid,
she was changed into a laurel tree (Gk. δάφνη): comp, the story of
Syrinx and Pan, referred to in _Arc._ 106.

662. ~fled~. Comp. the transitive use of the verb in l. 829, 939, _Son._
xviii. 14, "_fly_ the Babylonian woe"; _Sams. Agon._ 1541, "_fly_ The
sight of this so horrid spectacle."

663. ~freedom of my mind~, etc. Comp. Cowper's noble passage, "He is the
freeman whom the truth makes free," etc. (_Task_, v. 733).

665. ~corporal rind~: the body, called in _Il Pens._ 92, "this fleshly

668. ~here be all~. See note, l. 12.

669. ~fancy can beget~: comp. _Il Pens._ 6.

672. ~cordial julep~, heart-reviving drink. _Cordial_, lit. hearty (Lat.
_cordi_, stem of _cor_, the heart): _julep_, Persian _gulāb_, rose-water.

673. ~his~ = its: see note, l. 96.

674. ~syrups~: Arab, _sharāb_, a drink, wine.

675. ~that Nepenthes~, etc. The allusion is explained by the following
lines of the _Odyssey_: "Then Helen, daughter of Zeus, turned to new
thoughts. Presently she cast a drug into the wine whereof they drank, a
drug to lull all pain and anger, and bring forgetfulness of every
sorrow. Whoso should drink a draught thereof, when it is mingled in the
bowl, on that day he would let no tear fall down his cheeks, not though
his father and his mother died ... Medicines of such virtue and so
helpful had the daughter of Zeus, which Polydamna, the wife of Thon, had
given her, a woman of Egypt, where earth the grain-giver yields herbs in
greatest plenty, many that are healing in the cup, and many baneful"
(_Butcher and Lang's translation_, iv. 219-230). 'Nepenthes,' a Greek
adj. = sorrow-dispelling (νη, privative; πένθος, grief). It is here used
by Milton as the name of an opiate and it is now occasionally used as a
general name for drugs that relieve pain.

677. ~Is of such power~, etc.: see note, l. 155. The construction is,
'That Nepenthes is not of such power to stir up joy as this (julep is,
nor is it) so friendly to life (nor) so cool to thirst.'

679. ~Why ... to yourself~. Comp. Shakespeare, _Son._ i. 8, "Thyself thy
foe, to thy sweet self too cruel."

680. 'Nature gave you your beautiful person to be held in trust on
certain conditions, of which the most obligatory is that the body should
have refreshment after toil, ease after pain. Yet this very condition
you disregard, and deal harshly with yourself by refusing my proferred
glass at a time when you are in need of food and rest.' Comp.
Shakespeare, _Son._ iv. "Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend Upon
thyself thy beauty's legacy," etc.

685. ~unexempt condition~, _i.e._ a condition binding on all and at all
times, a law of human nature.

687. ~mortal frailty~, _i.e._ weak mortals: abstract for concrete.

688. ~That~. The antecedent of this relative is _you_, l. 682. See note,
l. 2.

689. ~timely~, seasonable. So 'timeless' = unseasonable (Scott's
_Marmion_, iii. 223, "gambol rude and _timeless_ joke"): comp. _Son._
ii. 8, "_timely_-happy spirits"; and l. 970.

693. ~Was this ... abode~? The verb is singular, because 'cottage' and
'safe abode' convey one idea: see Comus's words, l. 320. Notice also
that the past tense is used as referring to the past act of telling.

694. ~aspects~: accent on final syllable.

695. ~oughly-headed~: so spelt in Milton's MS. = ugly-headed. _Ugly_ is
radically connected with _awe_.

698. ~with visored falsehood and base forgery~. A vizor (also spelt
_visor_, _visard_, _vizard_) is a mask, "a false face." The allusion is
to Comus's disguise: see l. 166. _With_ in this line, as in lines 672
and 700, denotes _by means of_.

700. ~liquorish baits~: see note on _baited_, l. 162. 'Liquorish,' by
catachresis for _lickerish_ = tempting to the appetite, causing one to
_lick_ one's lips. The student should carefully distinguish the three
words _lickerish_ (as above), _liquorish_ (which is really meaningless)
and _liquorice_ (= licorice = Lat. _glycyrrhiza_), a plant with a sweet

702. ~treasonous~; an obsolete word. The current form 'treasonable' has
usually a more restricted sense: Milton and Shakespeare use _treasonous_
in the more general sense of _traitorous_ (a cognate word). In this line
'offer' = the thing offered.

703. ~good men ... good things~. This noble sentiment Milton has borrowed
from Euripides, _Medea_, 618, Κακοῦ γὰρ ἀνδρὸς δῶρ᾽ ὄνησιν οὐκ ἔχει, "the
gifts of the bad man are without profit." (Newton).

704. ~that which is not good~, etc. This is Platonic: the soul has a
rational principle and an irrational or appetitive, and when the former
controls the latter, the desires are for what is good only (_Rep._ iv.

707. ~budge doctors of the Stoic fur~. Budge is lambskin with the wool
dressed outwards, worn on the edge of the hoods of bachelors of arts,
etc. Therefore, if both _budge_ and _fur_ be taken literally the line is
tautological. But 'budge' has the secondary sense of 'solemn,' like a
doctor in his robes; and 'fur' may be used figuratively in the sense of
_sect_, just as "the cloth" is used to denote the clergy. The whole
phrase would thus be equivalent to 'solemn doctors of the Stoic sect.'
It is possible that Milton makes equivocal reference to the two senses
of 'budge.'

708. ~the Cynic tub~ = the tub of Diogenes the Cynic, here put in contempt
for the Cynic school of Greek philosophy, which was the forerunner of
the Stoic system. Diogenes, one of the early Cynics, lived in a tub, and
was fond of calling himself ὁ κύων (the dog).

709. ~the~: here used generically.

711. ~unwithdrawing~. In this participle the termination _-ing_ seems
almost equivalent to that of the past participle: comp. "_all-obeying_
breath" (= obeyed by all), _A. and C._ iii. 13, 77. Nature's gifts are
not only full but continuous.

714. ~all to please ... curious taste~. _All_ = entirely, here modifies
the infinitives please and sate. _Curious_ = fastidious: its original
sense is 'careful' or 'anxious.' Compare the two senses of _exquisite_,
note l. 359.

715. ~set~, _i.e._ she set. The pronominal subject is omitted.

717. ~To deck~: infinitive of purpose.

718. ~in her own loins~, _i.e._ in the bowels of the earth.

719. ~hutched~ = stored up, enclosed. _Hutch_ is an old word for chest or
coffer, chiefly used now in the compound 'rabbit-hutch.'

720. ~To store her children with~, _i.e._ _wherewith_ to store her
children. Or we may read, 'in order to store her children with (them).'
'Store' = provide.

721. ~pet of temperance~, _i.e._ a sudden and transitory fit of
temperance. ~pulse~. So Daniel and his three companions refused the
dainties of the King of Babylon and fed on pulse and water; _Dan._ i.

722. ~frieze~, coarse woollen cloth.

723. ~All-giver~. Comp. Gk. πανδώρα, an epithet applied to the earth as
the giver of all.

725. 'And we should serve him as (if he were) a grudging master and a
penurious niggard of his wealth, and (we should) live like Nature's
bastards': see _Hebrews_ xii. 8, "If ye are without chastening, whereof
all have been made partakers, then are ye _bastards, and not sons_."

728. ~Who~. The pronoun here relates not to the word immediately preceding
it, but to the substantive implied in the possessive pronoun _her_,
_i.e._ the sons of her who. His, her, etc., in such constructions have
their full force as genitives: comp. _L'Alleg._ 124, "her grace whom" =
the grace of her whom. ~surcharged~: overloaded, 'overfraught' (l. 732).
~waste fertility~, wasted or unused abundance. This participial use of
'waste' seems to be due to the similarity in sound to such participles
as 'elevate' (= elevated), 'instruct' (= instructed), etc., which occur
in Milton (comp. _English Past and Present_, vi.).

729. ~strangled~, suffocated.

730. ~winged air darked with plumes~, _i.e._ the air being darkened by the
flight of innumerable birds. Spenser also has _dark_ as a verb. Both
clauses in this line are absolute.

731. ~over-multitude~, outnumber. This line and the preceding one
illustrate the freedom with which, in earlier English, one part of
speech was used for another.

732. ~o'erfraught~: see note, l. 355.

733. ~emblaze~, make to blaze, make splendid. There is perhaps a reference
to the sense of _emblazon_, which is from M.E. _blazen_, to blaze
abroad, to proclaim.

734. ~bestud with stars~. In Milton's MS. it is 'bestud the centre with
their star-light,' _centre_ being the 'centre of the earth.'

735. ~inured~, accustomed, by custom rendered less sensitive. _Inure_ is
from the old phrase 'in ure' = in operation (Fr. _œuvre_, work).

737. ~coy~: shy or reserved. ~cozened~: cheated, beguiled. The origin of
this word is interesting: a cozener is one who, for selfish ends, claims
kindred or _cousinship_ with another, and hence a flatterer or cheat.

739-755. ~Beauty is Nature's coin~, etc. "The idea that runs through these
seventeen lines is a favourite one with the old poets; and Warton and
Todd cite parallel passages from Shakespeare, Daniel, Fletcher, and
Drayton. Thus, from Shakespeare (_M. N. D._ i. 1. 76-8):

    "Earthlier happy is the rose distilled
    Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn,
    Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness."

See also Shakespeare's first six sonnets, which are pervaded by the idea
in all its subtleties" (Masson).

743. ~let slip time~, _i.e._ allow time _to_ slip: see note, l. 304. Comp.
_Par. Lost_, i. 178. "Let us not _slip_ the occasion."

744. ~It~ = beauty. ~languished~, languid or languishing: comp. _Par.
Lost_, vi. 496, "their languished hope revived"; _Epitaph on M. of W._ 33.
The suffix _-ed_ is frequent in Elizabethan English where we now have
_-ing_ (Abbott, § 374).

747. ~most~, as many as possible.

748. ~homely ... home~. There is here a play upon words as in _Two Gent._
i. 1. 2: "_Home-keeping_ youth have ever _homely_ wits." _Homely_ is
derived from _home_.

749. Women with coarse complexions and dull cheeks are good enough for
household occupations.

750. ~of sorry grain~, not brilliant, of poor colour. 'Grain' is from Lat.
_granum_, a seed, applied to small objects, and hence to the coccus or
cochineal insect which yields a variety of red dyes. Hence _grain_ came
to denote certain colours, _e.g._ Tyrian purple, violet, etc., and is so
used by Milton: see _Il Pens._ 33, "a robe of darkest _grain_"; _Par.
Lost_, v. 285, "sky-tinctured _grain_"; xi. 242, "A military vest of
purple ... Livelier than ... the _grain_ Of Sarra," etc. And as these
were fast or durable colours we have such phrases as 'to dye in grain,'
'a rogue in grain,' 'an ingrained habit.' (See further in Marsh's _Lect.
on Eng. Lang._ p. 55).

751. ~sampler~, a sample or pattern piece of needlework. It is a doublet
of _exemplar_. ~tease the huswife's wool~. To _tease_ is to comb or card:
comp. the Lat. _vexare_. 'Huswife' = house-wife, further corrupted into
_hussy_. _Hussif_ (a case for needles, etc.) is a different word.

752. ~What need a vermeil-tinctured lip~? See note, l. 362, on 'what
need.' _Vermeil_: a French spelling of _vermilion_. The name is from
Lat. _vermis_, a worm (the cochineal insect, from which the colour used
to be got); and as _vermis_ is cognate with Sansk. _krimi_, a worm, it
follows that _vermilion_, _crimson_, and _carmine_ are cognate.

753. ~tresses~. Homer (_Odyssey_, v. 390) speaks of "the fair-tressed
Dawn," εὐπλόκαμος Ἠώς .

755. ~advised~. Contrast with 'Advice,' l. 108.

756. Lines 756-761 are not addressed to Comus.

757. ~but that~: were it not that.

758. ~as mine eyes~: as he has already charmed mine eyes; see note, l.

759. ~rules pranked in reason's garb~, _i.e._ specious arguments.
_Pranked_ = decked in a showy manner: Milton (Prose works, i. 147, ed.
1698) speaks of the Episcopal church service _pranking_ herself in the
weeds of the Popish mass. Comp. _Wint. Tale_, iv. 4. 10, "Most
goddess-like _prank'd_ up"; _Par. Lost_, ii. 226, "Belial, with words
clothed in _reason's garb_."

760-1. I hate when Vice brings forward refined arguments, and Virtue
allows them to pass unchallenged. ~bolt~ = to sift or separate, as the
_boulting-mill_ separates the meal from the bran; in this sense the word
(also spelt _boult_) is used by Chaucer, Spenser (_F. Q._ ii. 4. 24),
Shakespeare (_Cor._ iii. 1. 322, _Wint. Tale_, iv. 4. 375, "the fanned
snow that's _bolted_ By the northern blasts twice o'er," etc.). The
spelling _bolt_ has confused the word with 'bolt,' to shoot or start
out. See Index to Globe _Shakespeare_.

763. ~she would her children~, etc., _i.e._ she wished (that) her children
should be wantonly luxurious: comp. l. 172; _Par. Lost_, i. 497-503.

764. ~cateress~, stewardess, provider: lit. 'a buyer.' _Cateress_ is
feminine: the masculine is _caterer_, where the final _-er_ of the agent
is unnecessarily repeated.

765. ~Means ... to the good~: intends ... for the good.

767. ~dictate~. The accent in Milton's time was on the first syllable,
both in noun and verb. ~spare Temperance~. For Milton's praises of
Temperance comp. _Il Pens._ 46, "Spare Fast that oft with gods doth
diet"; also the 6th Elegy, 56-66; _Son._ xx., etc. "There is much in the
Lady which resembles the youthful Milton himself--he, the Lady of his
college--and we may well believe that the great debate concerning
temperance was not altogether dramatic (where, indeed, is Milton truly
dramatic?), but was in part a record of passages in the poet's own
spiritual history." Dowden's _Transcripts and Studies_.

768. If Nature's blessings were equally distributed instead of being
heaped upon a luxurious few, then (as Shakespeare says, _King Lear_, iv.
1. 73) "distribution should undo excess, And each man have enough."

769. ~beseeming~, suitable. The original sense of _seem_ is 'to be
fitting,' as in the words _beseem_ and _seemly_.

770. ~lewdly-pampered~; one of Milton's most expressive compounds =
wickedly gluttonous. _Lewd_ has passed through several changes of
meaning: (1) the lay-people as distinct from the clergy; (2) ignorant or
unlearned; and finally (2) base or licentious.

774. ~she no whit encumbered~, _i.e._ Nature would not be in the least
surcharged (as Comus represented in l. 728). _No whit_, used adverbially
= not in the least, lit. 'not a particle.' Etymologically _aught_ = a
whit, _naught_ = no whit.

776. ~His praise due paid~, _i.e._ would be duly paid. On _due_, see note,
l. 12. ~gluttony~: abstract for concrete.

779. ~Crams~, _i.e._ crams himself. There are many verbs in English that
may be thus used reflexively without having the pronoun expressed,
_e.g._ _feed_, _prepare_, _change_, _pour_, _press_, etc.

780. ~enow~. 'Enow' conveys the notion of a number, as in early English:
it is also spelt _anow_, and in Chaucer _ynowe_, and is the plural of
_enough_. It still occurs as a provincialism in England. On lines
780-799 Masson says: "A recurrence, by the sister, with much more mystic
fervour, to that Platonic and Miltonic doctrine which had already been
propounded by the Elder Brother (see lines 420-475)."

782. ~sun-clad power of chastity~. With 'sun-clad' compare 'the sacred
rays of chastity,' l. 425. Similarly in the _Faerie Queene_, iii. 6,
Spenser says of Belphoebe, who represents Chastity, "And Phoebus with
fair beams did her adorn."

783. ~yet to what end?~ A rhetorical question, = it would be to no

784. ~nor ... nor~. These correlatives are often used in poetry for
_neither ... nor_ (Shakespeare often omitting the former altogether),
and are equally correct. _Nor_ is only a contraction of _neither_, and
the first may as well be contracted as the second.

785. ~sublime notion and high mystery~. In the _Apology for Smectymnuus_
Milton tells of his study of the "divine volume of Plato," wherein he
learned of the "abstracted sublimities" of Chastity and Love: also of
his study of the Holy Scripture "unfolding these chaste and high
mysteries, with timeless care infused, that the body is for the Lord,
and the Lord for the body."

790. ~dear wit~. 'Dear' is here used in contempt: its original sense is
'precious' (A.S. _deore_), but in Elizabethan English it has a variety
of meanings, _e.g._ intense, serious, grievous, great, etc. Comp. "sad
occasion _dear_," _Lyc._ 6; "_dear_ groans," _L. L. L._ v. 2. 874. Craik
suggests "that the notion properly involved in it of love, having first
become generalised into that of a strong affection of any kind, had
thence passed on to that of such an emotion the very reverse of love,"
as in my _dearest_ foe. ~gay rhetoric~: here so named in contempt, as
being the instrument of sophistry.

791. ~fence~, argumentation, _Fence_ is an abbreviation of _defence_:
comp. "tongue-fence" (Milton), "fencer in wits' school" (Fuller), _Much
Ado_, v. 1. 75.

794. ~rapt spirits~. 'Rapt' = enraptured, as if the mind or soul had been
_carried out of itself_ (Lat. _raptus_, seized): comp. _Il Pens._ 40,
"Thy _rapt_ soul sitting in thine eyes." Milton also uses the word of
the actual snatching away of a person: "What accident hath _rapt_ him
from us," _Par. Lost_, ii. 40.

797. ~the brute Earth~, etc., _i.e._ the senseless Earth would become
sensible and assist me. 'Brute' = Lat. _brutus_, dull, insensible: comp.
Horace, _Odes_, i. 34. 9, "_bruta tellus_."

800. ~She fables not~: she speaks truly. This line is alliterative.

801. ~set off~: comp. _Lyc._ 80, "_set off_ to the world."

802. ~though not mortal~: _sc._ 'I am.' ~shuddering dew~. The epithet is,
by hypallage, transferred from the person to the dew or cold sweat which
'dips' or moistens his body.

804. ~Speaks thunder and the chains of Erebus~, etc.; in allusion to the
_Titanomachia_ or contest between Zeus and the Titans. Zeus, having been
provided with thunder and lightning by the Cyclops, cast the Titans into
Tartarus or Erebus, a region as far below Hell as Heaven is above the
Earth. The leader of the Titans was Cronos (Saturn). There is a zeugma
in _speaks_ as applied to 'thunder' and 'chains,' unless it be taken as
in both cases equivalent to _denounces_.

806. ~Come, no more!~ Comus now addresses the lady.

808. ~canon laws of our foundation~, _i.e._ the established rules of our
society. "A humorous application of the language of universities and
other foundations" (Keightley).

809. ~'tis but the lees~, etc. _Lees_ and _settlings_ are synonymous =
dregs. The allusion is to the old physiological system of the four
primary humours of the body, viz. blood, phlegm, choler, and melancholy
(see Burton's _Anat. of Mel._ i. 1, § ii. 2): "Melancholy, cold and dry,
thick, black, and sour, begotten of the more feculent part of
nourishment, and purged from the spleen"; Gk. μελαγχολία , black bile.
See _Sams. Agon._ 600, "_humours black_ That mingle with thy fancy";
and Nash's _Terrors of the Night_ (1594): "(Melancholy) sinketh down to
the bottom like the lees of the wine, corrupteth the blood, and is the
cause of lunacy."

811. ~straight~, immediately. The adverb _straight_ is now chiefly used of
direction; to indicate time _straightway_ (= in a straight way) is more
usual: comp. _L'Alleg._ 69: "Straight mine eye hath caught new

814. ~scape~, a mutilated form of 'escape,' occurs both as a noun and a
verb in Shakespeare and Milton: see _Par. Lost_, x. 5, "what can _scape_
the eye of God?"; _Par. Reg._ ii. 189, "then lay'st thy _scapes_ on
names adored."

816. ~without his rod reversed~. This use of the participle is a Latinism:
see note, l. 48. At the same time it is to be noted that a phrase of
this kind introduced by 'without' is in Latin frequently rendered by the
ablative absolute: such construction is here inadmissible because
'without' also governs 'mutters.'

817. ~backward mutters~. The notion of a counter-charm produced by
reversing the magical wand and by repeating the charm backwards occurs
in Ovid (_Met._ xiv. 300), who describes Circe as thus restoring the
followers of Ulysses to their human forms. Milton skilfully makes the
neglect of the counter-charm the occasion for introducing the legend of
Sabrina, which was likely to interest an audience assembled in the
neighbourhood of the River Severn. On 'mutters,' see note, l. 526.

820. ~bethink me~. The pronoun after this verb is reflexive. "The
deliverance of their sister would be impossible but for supernatural
interposition, the aid afforded by the Attendant Spirit from Jove's
court. In other words, Divine Providence is asserted. Not without higher
than human aid is the Lady rescued, and through the weakness of the
mortal instruments of divine grace but half the intended work is
accomplished." Dowden's _Transcripts and Studies_.

821. In this line and the next the attributive clauses are separated
from the antecedent: see note, l. 2.

822. ~Melibœus~. The name of a shepherd in Virgil's _Eclogue_ i.
Possibly the poet Spenser is here meant, as the tale of Sabrina is given
in the _Faerie Queene_, ii. 10, 14. The tale is also told by Geoffrey of
Monmouth and by Sackville, Drayton and Warner. As Milton refers to a
'shepherd,' _i.e._ a poet, and to 'the soothest shepherd,' _i.e._ the
truest poet, and as he follows Spenser's version of the story in this
poem, we need not hesitate to identify Meliboeus with Spenser.

823. ~soothest~, truest. The A.S. _sóth_ meant _true_; hence also 'a true
thing' = truth. It survives in _soothe_ (lit. to affirm to be true),
_soothsay_ (see l. 874), and _forsooth_ (= for a truth).

824. ~from hence~. _Hence_ represents an A.S. word _heonan_, _-an_ being
a suffix = from: so that in the phrase 'from hence' the force of the
preposition is twice introduced. Yet the idiom is common: it arises from
forgetfulness of the origin of the word. Comp. _Arc._ 3: "which _we from
hence_ descry."

825. ~with moist curb sways~: comp. l. 18. Sabrina was a _numen fluminis_
or river-deity.

826. ~Sabrina~: The following is Milton's version of the legend:--"After
this, Brutus, in a chosen place, builds Troja Nova, changed in time to
Trinovantum, now London; and began to enact laws (Heli being then High
Priest in Judea); and, having governed the whole isle twenty-four years,
died, and was buried in his new Troy. His three sons--Locrine, Albanact,
and Camber--divide the land by consent. Locrine had the middle part,
Loëgria; Camber possessed Cambria or Wales; Albanact, Albania, now
Scotland. But he, in the end, by Humber, King of the Huns, who, with a
fleet, invaded that land, was slain in fight, and his people driven back
into Loëgria. Locrine and his brother go out against Humber; who now
marching onward was by them defeated, and in a river drowned, which to
this day retains his name. Among the spoils of his camp and navy were
found certain young maids, and Estrilidis, above the rest, passing fair,
the daughter of a king in Germany, from whence Humber, as he went wasting
the sea-coast, had led her captive; whom Locrine, though before
contracted to the daughter of Corineus, resolves to marry. But being
forced and threatened by Corineus, whose authority and power he feared,
Gwendolen the daughter he yields to marry, but in secret loves the other;
and, ofttimes retiring as to some sacrifice, through vaults and passages
made underground, and seven years thus enjoying her, had by her a
daughter equally fair, whose name was Sabra. But when once his fear was
off by the death of Corineus, not content with secret enjoyment,
divorcing Gwendolen, he makes Estrilidis his Queen. Gwendolen, all in
rage, departs into Cornwall; where Pladan, the son she had by Locrine,
was hitherto brought up by Corineus, his grandfather; and gathering an
army of her father's friends and subjects, gives battle to her husband by
the river Sture, wherein Locrine, shot with an arrow, ends his life. But
not so ends the fury of Gwendolen, for Estrilidis and her daughter Sabra
she throws into a river, and, to have a monument of revenge, proclaims
that the stream be thenceforth called after the damsel's name, which by
length of time is changed now to _Sabrina_ or Severn."--_History of
Britain_ (1670).

827. ~Whilom~, of old. An obsolete word, lit. 'at time'; A.S. _hwílum_,
instr. or dat. plur. of _hwil_, time.

830. ~step-dame~. For the actual relationship, see note, l. 826. The
prefix _step_ (A.S. _steóp-_) means 'orphaned,' and applies properly to
a child whose parent has re-married: it was afterwards used in the words
'step-father,' etc. _Dame_ (Fr. _dame_, a lady) retains the sense of
mother in the form _dam_.

832. ~his~ = its: see note, l. 96.

834. ~pearled wrists~, wrists adorned with pearls. An appropriate epithet,
as pearls were said to exist in the waters of the Severn.

835. ~aged Nereus' hall~, the abode of old Nereus, _i.e._ the bottom of
the sea. Nereus, the father of the Nereids, or sea nymphs, is described
as the wise and unerring old man of the sea; in Virgil, _grandaevus
Nereus_. See also, l. 871, and compare Jonson's _Neptune's Triumph_,
last song: "Old Nereus, with his fifty girls, From aged Indus laden home
with pearls."

836. ~piteous of~, _i.e._ full of pity for; comp. Lat. _miseret te
aliorum_ (genitive). Milton occasionally uses the word in this passive
sense; its active sense is 'causing pity,' _i.e._ pitiful. Comp. Abbott,
§ 3. ~reared her lank head~, _i.e._ raised up her drooping head: comp.
_Par. Lost_, viii.: "In adoration at his feet I fell Submiss: he
_reared_ me." 'Lank,' lit. slender; hence weak. The adjective _lanky_ is
in common use = tall and thin.

837. ~imbathe~, to bathe in: the force of the preposition being
reduplicated, as in Lat. _incidere in_.

838. ~nectared lavers~, etc., baths sweetened with nectar and scented with
asphodel flowers. On 'nectar,' see note, l. 479. ~asphodel~; the same,
both name and thing, as 'daffodil' (see _Lyc._ 150, where it takes the
form 'daffadillies'): Gk. ἀσφόδελος, M.E. _affodille_. The initial _d_ in
daffodil has not been satisfactorily explained: see l. 851.

839. ~the porch~. So Quintilian calls the ear the vestibule of the mind:
comp. _Haml._ i. 5. 63: "the porches of mine ear"; also the phrase, "the
five gateways of knowledge."

840. ~ambrosial oils~, oils of heavenly fragrance: see note, l. 16, and
compare Virgil's use of _ambrosia_ in _Georg._ iv. 415, _liquidum
ambrosiae diffundit odorem_.

841. ~quick immortal change~: comp. l. 10.

842. ~Made Goddess~, etc. This participial construction is frequent in
Milton as in Latin: it is equivalent to an explanatory clause.

844. ~twilight meadows~: comp. "twilight groves," _Il Pens._ 133;
"twilight ranks," _Arc._ 99; _Hymn Nat._ 188.

845. ~Helping all urchin blasts~, remedying or preventing the blighting
influence of evil spirits. 'Urchin blasts' is probably here used
generally for what in _Arcades_, 49-53, are called "noisome winds and
blasting vapours chill," 'urchin' being common in the sense of 'goblin'
(_M. W. of W._ iv. 4. 49). Strictly the word denotes the hedgehog, which
for various reasons was popularly regarded with great dread, and hence
mischievous spirits were supposed to assume its form: comp. Shakespeare,
_Temp_, i. 2. 326, ii. 2. 5, "Fright me with _urchin_-shows"; _Titus
And._ ii. 3. 101; _Macbeth_, iv. 1. 2, "Thrice and once the _hedge-pig_
whined," etc. Compare the protecting duties of the Genius in _Arcades_.
~Helping~: comp. the phrases, "I cannot _help_ it," _i.e._ prevent it; "it
cannot be _helped_," _i.e._ remedied, etc.

846. ~shrewd~. Here used in its radical sense = _shrew-ed_, malicious,
like a shrew. Comp. _M. N. D._ ii. 1, "That _shrewd_ and knavish sprite
called Robin Goodfellow." Chaucer has the verb _shrew_ = to curse; the
current verb is _beshrew_.

847. ~vialed~, contained in _phials_.

850. ~garland wreaths~. A garland is a wreath, but we may take the phrase
to mean 'wreathed garlands': comp. "twisted braids," l. 862.

852. ~old swain~, _i.e._ Meliboeus (l. 862). "But neither Geoffrey of
Monmouth nor Spenser has the development of the legend" (Masson).

853. ~clasping charm~: see l. 613, 660.

854. ~warbled song~: comp. _Arc._ 87, "touch the _warbled_ string"; _Son._
xx. 12, "_Warble_ immortal notes."

857. ~This will I try~, _i.e._ to invoke her rightly in song.

858. ~adjuring~, charging by something sacred and venerable. The
adjuration is contained in lines 867-889, which, in Milton's MS., are
directed "to be said," not sung, and in the Bridgewater MS. "to sing or
not." From the latter MS. it would appear that these lines were sung as
a kind of trio by Lawes and the two brothers.

863. ~amber-dropping~: see note, l. 333; and comp. l. 106, where the idea
is similar, warranting us in taking 'amber-dropping' as a compound
epithet = dropping amber, and not (as some read) 'amber' and 'dropping.'
_Amber_ conveys the ideas of luminous clearness and fragrance: see
_Sams. Agon._ 720, "_amber_ scent of odorous perfume."

865. ~silver lake~, the Severn. Virgil has the Lat. _lacus_ in the sense
of 'a river.'

868. ~great Oceanus~, Gk. Ὠκέανόν τε μέγαν. The early Greeks regarded
the earth as a flat disc, surrounded by a perpetually flowing river
called Oceanus: the god of this river was also called Oceanus, and
afterwards the name was applied to the Atlantic. Hesiod, Drayton, and
Jonson have all applied the epithet 'great' to the god Oceanus; in fact,
throughout these lines Milton uses what may be called the "permanent
epithets" of the various divinities.

869. ~earth-shaking Neptune's mace~, _i.e._ the trident of Poseidon
(Neptune). Homer calls him ἐννοσίγαιος = earth-shaking: comp. _Iliad_,
xii. 27, "And the Shaker of the Earth with his trident in his hands,"
etc. In _Par. Lost_, x. 294, Milton provides Death with a "mace

870. ~Tethys' ... pace~. Tethys, wife of Oceanus, their children being the
Oceanides and river-gods. In Hesiod she is 'the venerable' (πότνια Τηθύς),
and in Ovid 'the hoary.'

871. ~hoary Nereus~: see note, l. 835.

872. ~Carpathian wizard's hook~. See Virgil's _Georg._ iv. 387, "In the
sea-god's Carpathian gulf there lives a seer, Proteus, of the sea's own
hue ... all things are known to him, those which are, those which have
been, and those which drag their length through the advancing future."
_Wizard_ = diviner, without the depreciatory sense of line 571; see note
there. _Hook_: Proteus had a shepherd's hook, because he tended "the
monstrous herds of loathly sea-calves": _Odyssey_, iv. 385-463.

873. ~scaly Triton's ... shell~. In _Lycidas_, 89, he is "the Herald of
the Sea." He bore a 'wreathed horn' or shell which he blew at the
command of Neptune in order to still the restless waves of the sea. He
was 'scaly,' the lower part of his body being like that of a fish.

874. ~soothsaying Glaucus~. He was a Boeotian fisherman who had been
changed into a marine deity, and was regarded by fishermen and sailors
as a soothsayer or oracle: see note, l. 823.

875. ~Leucothea~: lit. "the white goddess" (Gk. λευκή , θεά), the name
by which Ino, the daughter of Cadmus, was worshipped after she had
thrown herself into the sea to avoid her enraged husband Athamas.

876. ~her son~, _i.e._ Melisertes, drowned and deified along with his
mother: as a sea-deity he was called Palaemon, identified by the Romans
with their god of harbours, Portumnus.

877. ~tinsel-slippered~. The 'permanent epithet' of Thetis, a daughter of
Nereus and mother of Achilles, is "silver-footed" (Gk. ἀργυρόπεζα). Comp.
_Neptune's Triumph_ (Jonson):

    "And all the silver-footed nymphs were drest
    To wait upon him, to the Ocean's feast."

'Tinsel-slippered' is a paraphrase of this, for 'tinsel' is a cloth
worked with silver (or gold): the notion of cheap finery is not radical.
Etymologically, _tinsel_ is that which glitters or _scintillates_. On
the beauty of this epithet, and of Milton's compound epithets generally,
see Trench, _English Past and Present_, p. 296.

878-80. ~Sirens ... Parthenopè's ... Ligea's~. The three Sirens (see
note, l. 253) were Parthenopè, Ligēa, and Lucosia. The tomb of the
first was at Naples (see Milton's _Ad Leonaram_, iii., "Credula quid
liquidam Sirena, Neapoli, jactas, Claraque Parthenopes fana
Achelöiados," etc.). Ligea, described by Virgil (_Georg._ iv. 336) as a
sea-nymph, is here represented as seated, like a mermaid, in the act of
smoothing her hair with a golden comb.

881. ~Wherewith~ = with which. The true adjective clause is "sleeking ...
locks" = with which she sleeks, etc.; and the true participial clause is
"she sits ... rocks" = seated on ... rocks.

882. ~Sleeking~, making sleek or glossy. The original sense of 'sleek' is
greasy: comp. _Lyc._ 99, "On the level brine _Sleek_ Panopè with all her
sisters played."

885. ~heave~, raise. Comp. the similar use of the word in _L'Alleg._ 145,
"Orpheus' self may heave his head."

887. ~bridle in~, _i.e._ restrain.

888. ~have~: subjunctive after _till_, as frequently in Milton.

890. ~rushy-fringèd~, fringed with rushes. The more usual form would be
rush-fringed: we may regard Milton's form as a participle formed from
the compound noun "rushy-fringe": comp. 'blue-haired,' l. 29;
"false-played," Shakespeare, _A. and C._ iv. 14.

891. ~grows~. A singular with two nominatives connected by _and_: the verb
is to be taken with each. But the compound subject is really equivalent
to "the willow with its osiers dank," osiers being water-willows or
their branches. ~dank~, damp: comp. _Par. Lost_, vii. 441, "oft they quit
the _dank_" (= the water).

893. ~Thick set~, etc., _i.e._ thickly inlaid with agate and beautified
with the azure sheen of turquoise, etc. There is a zeugma in _set_.
~azurn sheen~. Sheen = brightness: it occurs again in l. 1003; see note
there. 'Azurn': modern English has a tendency to use the noun itself as
an adjective in cases where older English used an adjective with the
suffix _-en_ = made of. Most of the adjectives in _-en_ that still
survive do not now denote "made of," but simply "like," _e.g._ golden
hair, etc. _Azurn_ and _cedarn_ (l. 990), _hornen_, _treen_, _corden_,
_glassen_, _reeden_, etc., are practically obsolete; see Trench,
_English Past and Present_. Comp. 'oaten' (_Lyc._ 33), 'oaken' (_Arc._
45). As the words 'azurn' and 'cedarn' are peculiar to Milton some hold
that he adopted them from the Italian _azzurino_ and _cedrino_.

894. ~turkis~; also spelt turkoise, turquois, and turquoise: lit. 'the
Turkish stone,' a Persian gem so called because it came through Turkey
(Pers. _turk_, a Turk).

895. ~That ... strays~. Milton does not imply that these stones were
found in the Severn, nor does he in lines 932-937 imply that cinnamon
grows on its banks.

897. ~printless feet~. Comp. _Temp._ v. i. 34: "Ye that on the sands with
_printless foot_ Do chase the ebbing Neptune"; also _Arc._ 85: "Where no
print of step hath been."

902. It will be noticed that the Spirit takes up the rhymes of Sabrina's
song ('here,' 'dear'; 'request,' 'distressed'), and again Sabrina
continues the rhymes of the Spirit's song ('distressed,' 'best').

913. ~of precious cure~, of curative power. See note on this use of 'of,'
l. 155.

914. References to the efficacy of sprinkling are frequent, _e.g._ in
the English Bible, in Spenser, in Virgil (_Aen._ vi. 229), in Ovid
(_Met._ iv. 479), in _Par. Lost_, xi. 416.

916. ~Next~: an adverb modifying 'touch.'

917. ~glutinous~, sticky, viscous. The epithet is transferred from the
effect to the cause.

921. ~Amphitrite~: the wife of Neptune (Poseidon) and goddess of the Sea.

923. ~Anchises line~: see note, l. 827. Locrine was the son of Brutus, who
was the son of Silvius, who was the grandson of the great Aeneas, who
was the son of old Anchises.

924. ~may ... miss~. This verb is optative: so are '(may) scorch,' '(may)
fill,' 'may roll,' and 'may be crowned.'

925. ~brimmèd~. The passive participle is so often used where we now use
the active that 'brimmed' may mean 'brimming' = full to the brim. On the
other hand, 'brim' is frequent in the sense of _bank_ (comp. l. 119), so
that some regard 'brimmed' as = enclosed within banks.

928. ~singèd~, scorched. We should rather say 'scorching.' On the good
wishes expressed in lines 924-937 Masson's comment is: "The whole of
this poetic blessing on the Severn and its neighbourhood, involving the
wish of what we should call 'solid commercial prosperity,' would go to
the heart of the assemblage at Ludlow."

933. ~beryl~: in the Bible (_Rev._ xxi. 20) this precious stone forms one
of the foundations of the New Jerusalem. The word is of Eastern origin:
comp. Arab, _billaur_, crystal. ~golden ore~. As a matter of fact gold has
been found in the Welsh mountains.

934. ~May thy lofty head~, etc. The grammatical construction is: 'May thy
lofty head be crowned round with many a tower and terrace, and here and
there (may thy lofty head be crowned) with groves of myrrh and cinnamon
(growing) upon thy banks.' This makes 'banks' objective, and 'upon' a
preposition: the only objection to this reading is that the notion of
crowning the head upon the banks is peculiar. The difficulty vanishes
when we recollect that Milton frequently connects two clauses with one
subject rather loosely: the subject of the second clause is 'thou,'
implied in 'thy lofty head.' An exact parallel to this is found in
_L'Alleg._ 121, 122: 'whose bright eyes rain influence and _judge_ the
prize'; also in _Il Pens._ 155-7; 'let my due feet never fail to _walk
... and love_, etc.': also in _Lyc._ 88, 89. The explanation adopted by
Prof. Masson is that Milton had in view two Greek verbs--περιστεφανόω,
'to put a crown round,' and ἐπιστεφανόω, "to put a crown upon": thus,
"May thy lofty head be _crowned round_ with many a tower and terrace,
and thy banks here and there be _crowned upon_ with groves of myrrh and
cinnamon." This makes 'banks' nominative, and 'upon' an adverb.

In the Bridgewater MS. the stage direction here is, _Song ends_.

942. ~Not a waste~, etc., _i.e._ 'Let there not be a superfluous or
unnecessary sound until we come.' 'waste' is an attributive: see note,
l. 728.

945. ~gloomy covert wide~: see note, l. 207.

946. ~not many furlongs~. These words are deliberately inserted to keep up
the illusion. It is probable that, in the actual representation of the
mask, the scene representing the enchanted palace was removed when
Comus's rout was driven off the stage, and a woodland scene redisplayed.
This would give additional significance to these lines and to the change
of scene after l. 957. 'Furlong' = furrow-long: it thus came to mean the
length of a field, and is now a measure of length.

949. ~many a friend~. 'Many a' is a peculiar idiom, which has been
explained in different ways. One view is that 'many' is a corruption of
the French _mesnie_, a train or company, and 'a' a corruption of the
preposition 'of,' the singular noun being then substituted for the
plural through confusion of the preposition with the article. A more
correct view seems to be that 'many' is the A.S. _manig_, which was in
old English used with a singular noun and without the article, _e.g._
_manig mann_ = many men. In the thirteenth century the indefinite
article began to be inserted; thus _mony enne thing_ = many a thing,
just as we say 'what _a_ thing,' 'such _a_ thing.' This would seem to
show that 'a' is not a corruption of 'of,' and that there is no
connection with the French word _mesnie_. Milton, in this passage, uses
'many a friend' with a plural verb. ~gratulate~. The simple verb is now
replaced by the compound _congratulate_ (Lat. _gratulari_, to wish joy
to a person).

950. ~wished~, _i.e._ wished for; see note, l. 574. ~and beside~, _i.e._
'and where, besides,' etc.

952. ~jigs~, lively dances.

958. ~Back, shepherds, back!~ On the rising of the curtain, the stage is
occupied by peasants engaged in a merry dance. Soon after the attendant
Spirit enters with the above words. ~Enough your play~, _i.e._ we have had
enough of your dancing, which must now give way to 'other trippings.'

959. ~sunshine holiday~. Comp. _L'Alleg._ 98, where the same expression is
used. There is a close resemblance between the language of this song and
lines 91-99 of _L'Allegro_. Milton's own spelling of 'holiday' is
'holyday,' which shows the origin of the word. The accent in such
compounds (comp. blue-bell, blackbird, etc.) falls on the adjective: it
is only in this way that the ear can tell whether the compound forms
(_e.g._ hóliday) or the separate words (_e.g._ hóly dáy) are being used.

960. ~Here be~: see note, l. 12. ~without duck or nod~: words used to
describe the ungraceful dancing and awkward courtesy of the country

961. ~trippings ... lighter toes ... court guise~: words used to describe
the graceful movements of the Lady and her brothers: comp. _L'Alleg._
33: "trip it, as you go, On the light fantastic toe." _Trod_ (or
trodden), past participle of _tread_: 'to tread a measure' is a common
expression, meaning 'to dance.' 'Court guise,' _i.e._ courtly mien;
_guise_ is a doublet of _wise_ = way, _e.g._ 'in this wise,'
'like_wise_,' 'other_wise_.' In such pairs of words as _guise_ and
_wise_, _guard_ and _ward_, _guile_ and _wile_, the forms in _gu_ have
come into English through the French.

963. ~Mercury~ (the Greek Hermes) was the herald of the gods, and as such
was represented as having winged ankles (Gk. πτηνοπέδιλος): his name is
here used as a synonym both for agility and refinement.

964. ~mincing Dryades~. The Dryades are wood-nymphs (Gk. δρῦς, a
tree), here represented as mincing, _i.e._ tripping with short steps,
unlike the clumsy striding of the country people. Comp. _Merch. of V._
iii. 4. 67: "turn two _mincing_ steps Into a manly stride." Applied to a
person's gait (or speech), the word now implies affectation.

965. ~lawns ... leas~. On 'lawn,' see note, l. 568: a 'lea' is a meadow.

966. This song is sung by Lawes while presenting the three young persons
to the Earl and Countess of Bridgewater.

967. ~ye~: see note, l. 216.

968. ~so goodly grown~, _i.e._ grown so goodly. _Goodly_ = handsome (A.S.
_gódlic_ = goodlike).

970. ~timely~. Here an adverb: in l. 689 it is an adjective. Comp. the two
phrases in _Macbeth_: "To gain the _timely_ inn," iii. 3. 7; and "To
call _timely_ on him," ii. 3. 51.

972. ~assays~, trials, temptations. _Assay_ is used by Milton in the
sense of 'attempt' as well as of 'trial': see _Arc._ 80, "I will
_assay_, her worth to celebrate." The former meaning is now confined to
the form _essay_ (radically the same word); and the use of _assay_ has
been still further restricted from its being used chiefly of the testing
of metals. Comp. _Par. Lost_, iv. 932, "hard _assays_ and ill
successes"; _Par. Reg._ i. 264, iv. 478.

974, 5. ~To triumph~. The whole purpose of the poem is succinctly
expressed in these lines. _Stage Direction_: ~Spirit epiloguizes~, _i.e._
sings the epilogue or concluding stanzas. In one of Lawes' manuscripts
of the mask, the epilogue consists of twelve lines only, those numbered
1012-1023. From the same copy we find that line 976 had been altered by
Lawes in such a manner as to convert the first part of the epilogue into
a prologue which, in his character as Attendant Spirit, he sang whilst
descending upon the stage:--

    _From the heavens_ now I fly,
    And those happy climes that lie
    Where day never shuts his eye,
    Up in the broad _field_ of the sky.
    There I suck the liquid air
    All amidst the gardens fair
    Of Hesperus, and his daughters three
    That sing about the golden tree.
    There eternal summer dwells,
    And west winds, with musky wing,
    About the cedarn alleys fling
    Nard and cassia's balmy smells.
    Iris there with humid bow
    Waters the odorous banks, that blow
    Flowers of more mingled hue
    Than her purfled scarf can show,
    _Yellow, watchet, green, and blue_,
    And drenches oft with _Manna_ dew
    Beds of hyacinth and roses,
    Where _many a cherub soft_ reposes.

Doubtless this was the arrangement in the actual performance of the

976. ~To the ocean~, etc. The resemblance of this song, in rhythm and
rhyme, to the song of Ariel in the _Tempest_, v. 1. 88-94, has been
frequently pointed out: "Where the bee sucks, there suck I," etc.
Compare also the song of Johphiel in _The Fortunate Isles_ (Ben Jonson):
"Like a lightning from the sky," etc. The epilogue as sung by Lawes (ll.
1012-1023) may also be compared with the epilogue of the _Tempest_: "Now
my charms are all o'erthrown," etc.

977. ~happy climes~. Comp. _Odyssey_, iv. 566: "The deathless gods will
convey thee to the Elysian plain and the world's end ... where life is
easiest for men. No snow is there, nor yet great storm, nor any rain;
but always ocean sendeth forth the breeze of the shrill west to blow
cool on men": see also l. 14. 'Clime,' radically the same as _climate_,
is still used in its literal sense = a region of the earth; while
'climate' has the secondary meaning of 'atmospheric conditions.' Comp.
_Son._ viii. 8: "Whatever _clime_ the sun's bright circle warms."

978. ~day ... eye~. Comp. _Son._ i. 5: "the _eye_ of day"; and _Lyc._ 26:
"the opening _eyelids_ of the Morn."

979. ~broad fields of the sky~. Comp. Virgil's "_Aëris in campis latis_,"
_Aen._ vi. 888.

980. ~suck the liquid air~, inhale the pure air. 'Liquid' (lit. flowing)
is used figuratively and generally in the sense of pure and sweet: comp.
_Son._ i. 5, "thy liquid notes."

981. ~All amidst~. For this adverbial use of _all_ (here modifying the
following prepositional phrase), compare _Il Pens._ 33, "_all_ in a robe
of darkest grain."

982. ~Hesperus~: see note, l. 393. Hesperus, the brother of Atlas, had
three daughters--Aegle, Cynthia, and Hesperia. They were famed for their
sweet song. In Milton's MS. _Hesperus_ is written over _Atlas_: Spenser
makes them daughters of Atlas, as does Jonson in _Pleasure reconciled to

984. ~crispéd shades~. 'Crisped,' like 'curled' (comp. "curl the grove,"
_Arc._ 46) is a common expression in the poetry of the time, and has the
same meaning. The original form is the adjective 'crisp' (Lat. _crispus_
= curled), from which comes the verb _to crisp_ and the participle
_crisped_. Compare "the _crisped_ brooks ... ran nectar," _Par. Lost_,
iv. 237, where the word is best rendered 'rippled'; also Tennyson's
_Claribel_, 19, "the babbling runnel _crispeth_." In the present case
the reference is to the foliage of the trees.

985. ~spruce~, gay. This word, now applied to persons with a touch of
levity, was formerly used both of things and persons in the sense of gay
or neat. Compare the present and earlier uses of the word _jolly_, on
which Pattison says:--"This is an instance of the disadvantage under
which poetry in a living language labours. No knowledge of the meaning
which a word bore in 1631 can wholly banish the later and vulgar
associations which may have gathered round it since. Apart from direct
parody and burlesque, the tendency of living speech is gradually to
degrade the noble; so that as time goes on the range of poetical
expression grows from generation to generation more and more
restricted." The origin of the word _spruce_ is disputed: Skeat holds
that it is a corruption of Pruce (old Fr. _Pruce_, mod. Fr. _Prusse_) =
Prussia; we read in the 14th century of persons dressed after the
fashion of Prussia or Spruce, and Prussia was called Sprussia by some
English writers up to the beginning of the 17th century. See also
Trench, _Select Glossary_.

986. ~The Graces~. The three Graces of classical mythology were Euphrosyne
(the light-hearted one), Aglaia (the bright one), and Thalia (the
blooming one). See _L'Alleg._ 12: "Euphrosyne ... Whom lovely Venus, at
a birth, With two sister Graces more, To ivy-crownèd Bacchus bore." They
were sometimes represented as daughters of Zeus, and as the goddesses
who purified and enhanced all the innocent pleasures of life.
~rosy-bosomed Hours~. The Hours (Horæ) of classical mythology were the
goddesses of the Seasons, whose course was described as the dance of the
Horæ. The Hora of Spring accompanied Persephone every year on her ascent
from the lower world, and the expression "The chamber of the Horæ opens"
is equivalent to "The Spring is coming." 'Rosy-bosomed'; the Gk.
ῥοδόκολπος: compare the epithets 'rosy-fingered' (applied by Homer to
the dawn), 'rosy-armed,' etc.

989. ~musky ... fling~. Compare _Par. Lost_, viii. 515: "Fresh gales and
gentle airs Whispered it to the woods, and from their wings Flung rose,
flung odours from the spicy shrub." In this passage the verb _fling_ is
similarly used. 'Musky' = fragrant: comp. 'musk-rose,' l. 496.

990. ~cedarn alleys~, _i.e._ alleys of cedar trees. For 'alley,' comp. l.
311. For the form of 'cedarn,' see note on 'azurn,' l. 893. Tennyson
uses the word 'cedarn' in _Recoll. of Arab. Nights_, 115.

991. ~Nard and cassia~; two aromatic plants. Cassia is a name sometimes
applied to the wild cinnamon: nard is also called _spike-nard_; see
allusion in the Bible, _Mark_, xiv. 3; _Exod._ xxx. 24, etc.

992. ~Iris ... humid bow~: see note, l. 83. The allusion is, of course, to
the rainbow.

993. ~blow~, here used actively = cause to blossom: comp. Jonson, _Mask at
Highgate_, "For thee, Favonius, here shall _blow_ New flowers."

995. ~purfled~ = having an embroidered edge (O.F. _pourfiler_): the verb
_to purfle_ survives in the contracted form _to purl_, and is cognate
with profile = a front line or edge. ~shew~: here rhymes with _dew_; comp.
l. 511, 512. This points to the fact that in Milton's time the present
pronunciation of _shew_, though familiar, was not the only one

996. ~drenches with Elysian dew~, _i.e._ soaks with heavenly dew. The
Homeric Elysium is described in _Odyssey_, iv.: see note, l. 977; it
was afterwards identified with the abode of the blessed, l. 257.
_Drench_ is the causative of _drink_: here the nominative of the verb is
'Iris' and the object 'beds.'

997. ~if your ears be true~, _i.e._ if your ears be pure: the poet is
about to speak of that which cannot be understood by those with "gross
unpurgèd ear" (_Arc._ 73, and _Com._ l. 458). He alludes to that pure
Love which "leads up to Heaven," _Par. Lost_, viii. 612.

998. ~hyacinth~. This is the "sanguine flower inscribed with woe" of
_Lycidas_, 106: it sprang from the blood of Hyacinthus, a youth beloved
by Apollo.

999. ~Adonis~, the beloved of Venus, died of a wound which he received
from a boar during the chase. The grief of Venus was so great that the
gods of the lower world allowed him to spend six months of every year on
earth. The story is of Asiatic origin, and is supposed to be symbolic of
the revival of nature in spring and its death in winter. Comp. _Par.
Lost_, ix. 439, "those gardens feigned Or of revived Adonis," etc.

1000. ~waxing well of~, _i.e._ recovering from. The A.S. _weaxan_ = to
grow or increase: Shakespeare has 'man of wax' = adult, _Rom. and Jul._
i. 3. 76; see also Index to Globe _Shakespeare_.

1002. ~Assyrian queen~, _i.e._ Venus, whose worship came from the East,
probably from Assyria. She was originally identical with Astarte, called
by the Hebrews Ashteroth: see _Par. Lost_, i. 438-452, where Adonis
appears as Thammuz.

1003, 4. ~far above ... advanced~. These words are to be read together:
'advanced' is an attribute to 'Cupid,' and is modified by 'far above.'

1003. ~spangled sheen~, glittering brightness. 'Spangled': _spangle_ is a
diminutive of _spang_ = a metal clasp, and hence 'a shining ornament.'
In poetry it is common to speak of the stars as 'spangles' and of the
heavens as 'spangled': comp. Addison's well-known lines:

    "The spacious firmament on high,
    With all the blue ethereal sky,
    And _spangled_ heavens, a shining frame,
    Their great Original proclaim."

Comp. also _Lyc._ 170, "with _new-spangled_ ore." 'Sheen' is here used
as a noun, as in line 893; also in _Hymn Nat._ 145, "throned in
celestial _sheen_": _Epitaph on M. of W._ 73, "clad in radiant _sheen_."
The word occurs in Spenser as an adjective also: comp. "her dainty corse
so fair and _sheen_," _F. Q._ ii. 1. 10. In the line "By fountain clear
or spangled starlight _sheen_" (_M. N. D._ ii. l. 29) it is doubtful
whether the word is a noun or an adjective. Milton uses the adjective
_sheeny_ (_Death of Fair Infant_, 48).

1004. ~Celestial Cupid~. The ordinary view of Cupid is given in the note
to line 445; here he is the lover of Psyche (the human soul) to whom he
is united after she has been purified by a life of trial and misfortune.
The myth of Cupid and Psyche is as follows: Cupid was in love with
Psyche, but warned her that she must not seek to know who he was.
Yielding to curiosity, however, she drew near to him with a lamp while
he was asleep. A drop of the hot oil falling on him, he awoke, and fled
from her. She now wandered from place to place, persecuted by Venus; but
after great sorrow, during which she was secretly supported by Cupid,
she became immortal and was united to him for ever. In this story Psyche
represents the human soul (Gk. ψυχή), which is disciplined and purified
by earthly misfortune and so fitted for the enjoyment of true happiness
in heaven. Further, in Milton's Allegory it is only the soul so purified
that is capable of knowing true love: in his _Apology for Smectymnuus_
he calls it that Love "whose charming cup is only virtue," and whose
"first and chiefest office ... begins and ends in the soul, producing
those happy twins of her divine generation, Knowledge and Virtue." To
this high and mystical love Milton again alludes in _Epitaphium Damonis_:

    "In other part, the expansive vault above,
    And there too, even there the god of love;
    With quiver armed he mounts, his torch displays
    A vivid light, his gem-tipt arrows blaze,
    Around his bright and fiery eyes he rolls,
    Nor aims at vulgar minds or little souls,
    Nor deigns one look below, but aiming high
    Sends every arrow to the lofty sky;
    Hence forms divine, and minds immortal, learn
    The power of Cupid, and enamoured burn."

    _Cowper's translation._

1007. ~among~: preposition governing 'gods.'

1008. ~make~: subjunctive after 'till.' Its nominative is 'consent.'

1010. ~blissful~, blest. _Bliss_ is cognate with _bless_ and _blithe_.
Comp. "the _blest_ kingdoms meek of joy and love," _Lyc._ 177. ~are to be
born~. There seems to be here a confusion of constructions between the
subjunctive co-ordinate with _make_ and the indicative dependent in
meaning on "Jove hath sworn" in the following line.

1011. ~Youth and Joy~. Everlasting youth and joy are found only after the
trials of earth are past. So Spenser makes Pleasure the daughter of
Cupid and Psyche, but she is "the daughter late," _i.e._ she is possible
only to the purified soul. See also note on l. 1004.

1012. ~my task~, _i.e._ the task alluded to in line 18. This line is an
adverbial clause = Now that (or _because_) my task is smoothly done.

1013. The Spirit's task being finished he is free to soar where he
pleases. There seems to be implied the injunction that mankind can by
virtue alone attain to the same spiritual freedom.

1014. ~green earth's end~. The world as known to the ancients did not
extend much beyond the Straits of Gibraltar. The Cape Verd Islands,
which lie outside these straits, may be here referred to: comp. _Par.
Lost_, viii. 630:

    "But I can now no more; the parting sun
    Beyond the earth's green Cape and Verdant Isles
    Hesperean sets, my signal to depart."

1015. ~bowed welkin~: the meaning of the line is, "Where the arched sky
curves slowly towards the horizon." _Welkin_ is, radically, "the region
of clouds," A.S. _wolcnu_, clouds.

1017. ~corners of the moon~, _i.e._ its horns. The crescent moon is said
to be 'horned' (Lat. _cornu_, a horn). Comp. the lines in _Macbeth_,
iii. 5. 23, 24: "Upon the corners of the moon There hangs a vaporous
drop profound."

1020. ~She can teach ye how to climb~, etc. Compare Jonson's song to

        "Though a stranger here on earth
    In heaven she hath her right of birth.
        There, there is Virtue's seat:
        Strive to keep her your own;
        'Tis only she can make you great,
    Though place here make you known."

1021. ~sphery chime~, _i.e._ the music of the spheres. "To climb higher
than the sphery chime" means to ascend beyond the spheres into the
empyrean or true heaven--the abode of God and the purest Spirits. Milton
therefore implies that by virtue alone can we come into God's presence.
See note on "the starry quire," line 112. 'Chime' is strictly 'harmony,'
as in "silver _chime_," _Hymn Nat._ 128: the word is cognate with

1022, 3. ~if Virtue feeble were~, etc. A triumphant expression of that
confidence in the invincibleness of virtue, when aided by Divine
Providence, and therefore a fitting conclusion of the whole masque.
Milton's whole life reveals his unshaken belief in the truth expressed
in the last two lines of his _Comus_.



Acheron, 604.

Adonis, 999.

Adventurous, 79.

Advice, 108;
  advised, 755.

Affects, 386.

Alabaster, 660.

All, 714, 981.

All ear, 560.

Alley, 311, 990.

All-giver, 723.

All to-ruffled, 380.

Amber-dropping, 863.

Ambrosial, 16.

Amiss, 177.

Apace, 657.

Arbitrate, 411.

Asphodel, 838.

Assays, 972.

Assyrian Queen, 1002.

Ay me, 511.

Azurn, 893.


Backward, 817.

Baited, 162.

Bandite, 426.

Be, 12, 519.

Benison, 332.

Beryl, 933.

Beseeming, 769.

Blank, 452.

Blissful, 1010.

Blue-haired, 29.

Blow, 993.

Bolt, 760.

Bosky, 313.

Bourn, 313.

Brakes, 147.

Brimmed, 925.

Brinded, 443.

Brute, 797.

Budge, 707.

Burs, 352.


Cassia, 991.

Cast, 360.

Cateress, 764.

Cedarn, 990.

Centre, 382.

Certain, 266.

Chance, 508.

Charactered, 530.

Charmèd, 51.

Charnel, carnal, 471.

Charybdis, 257.

Chime, 1021.

Chimeras, 517.

Circe, 50.

Clime, 977.

Close, 548.

Clouted, 635.

Company, 274.

Comus, 46, 58.

Convoy, 81.

Cordial, 672.

Corners, 1017.

Cotes, 344.

Cotytto, 129.

Courtesy, 325.

Cozened, 737.

Crabbed, 477.

Crisped, 984.

Crofts, 531.

Crowned, 934.

Curfew, 435.

Curious, 714.

Cynic, 708.

Cynosure, 342.


Dapper, 118.

Darked, 730.

Dear, 790.

Dell, 312.

Descry, 141.

Dew-besprent, 542.

Dimple, 119.

Dingle, 312.

Disinherit, 334.

Ditty, 86.

Drench, 996.

Drouth, 66.

Drowsy frighted, 553.

Due, 12.

Dun, 127.

Durst, 577.


Each ... every, 19, 311.

Earth-shaking, 869.

Ebon, 134.

Ecstasy, 261, 625.

Element, 299.

Elysium, 257.

Emblaze, 732.

Emprise, 610.

Engaged, 193.

Enow, 780.

Erebus, 804.

Every ... each, 19, 311.

Eye, 329.


Faery, 298.

Fairly, 168.

Fantastic, 144, 205.

Fence, 791.

Firmament, 598.

Fond, 67.

For, 586, 602.

Forestalling, 285.

Forlorn, 39.

Fraught, 355, 732.

Freezed, 449.

Frighted, 553.

Frolic, 59.


Gear, 167.

Glistering, 219.

Glozing, 161.

Goodly, 968.

Graces, 986.

Grain, 750.

Granges, 175.

Gratulate, 949.

Grisly, 603.

Guise, 961.


Haemony, 638.

Hag, 434.

Hallo, 226.

Hapless, 350.

Harpies, 605.

Harrowed, 565.

Heave, 885.

Hecate, 135.

Help, 304, 845.

Hence, 824.

Her, 351, 455.

Hesperian, 393.

High, 654.

Hinds, 174.

Holiday, 959.

Home-felt, 262.

Homely, 748.

Horror, 38.

Hours, 986.

How chance, 508.

Huswife, 751.

Hutched, 719.

Hyacinth, 998.

Hydras. 605.


Imbathe, 837.

Imbodies, 468.

Imbrutes, 468.

Immured, 521.

Infamous, 424.

Infer, 408.

Influence, 336.

Inlay, 22.

Innumerous, 349.

Insphered, 3.

Interwove, 544.

Inured, 735.

Iris, 83.

Isle, 21.


Jocund, 172.

Jollity, 104.

Julep, 672.


Knot-grass, 542.


Lackey, 455.

Lake, 865.

Languished, 744.

Lank, 836.

Lap, 257.

Lawn, 568.

Lees, 809.

Leucothea, 875.

Lewdly-pampered, 770.

Like, 22, 634.

Lime-twigs, 646.

Liquid, 980.

Liquorish, 700.

Listed, 49.

Listened, 551.

Liveried, 455.

Lore, 34.

Love-lorn, 234.

Luscious, 652.


Madness, 261.

Madrigal, 495.

Mansion, 2.

Mantling, 294.

Many a, 949.

Margent, 232.

Me, 163, 630.

Meander, 232.

Meditate, 547.

Melancholy, 810.

Methought, 171.

Meliboeus, 822.

Mickle, 31.

Mildew, 640.

Mincing, 964.

Mintage, 529.

Misusèd, 47.

Moly, 636.

Monstrous, 533.

Mountaineer, 426.

Morrice, 116.

Mortal, 10.

Murmurs, 526.

Mutters, 817.

My, mine, 170.


Naiades, 254.

Nard, 991.

Navel, 520.

Necromancer, 649.

Nectar, 479.

Neighbour, 484.

Nepenthes, 675.

Nereus, 835.

Nether, 20.

New-intrusted, 36.

Nice, 139.

Night-foundered, 483.

Nightingale, 234.

Nightly, 113.

Nor ... nor, 784.


Oaten, 345, 893.

Oceanus, 97, 868.

Of, 59, 155, 836, 1000.

Ominous, 61.

Orient, 65.

Other, 612.

Oughly-headed, 695.

Ounce, 71.

Over-exquisite, 359.

Over-multitude, 731.


Palmer, 189.

Pan, 176.

Pard, 444.

Parley, 241.

Pent, 499.

Perfect, 73, 203.

Perplexed, 37.

Pert, 118.

Pestered, 7.

Pinfold, 7.

Plight, 372.

Plighted, 301

Plumes, 378.

Potion, 68.

Pranked, 759.

Presentments, 156.

Prime, 289.

Prithee, 615.

Prove, 123.

Purchase, 607.

Purfled, 995.

Psyche, 1004.


Quaint, 157.

Quarters, 29.

Quire, 112.

Quivered, 422.


Rapt, 794.

Ravishment, 244.

Reared, 836.

Recks, 404.

Regard, 620.

Rifted, 518.

Rite, 125.

Roost, 317.

Rosy-bosomed, 986.

Rout, 92-93.

Rule, 340.

Rushy-fringed, 890.


Sabrina, 826.

Sadly, 509.

Sampler, 751.

Saws, 110.

Scape, 814.

Scylla, 257.

Serene, 4.

Several, 25.

Shagged, 429.

Shapes, 2.

Sheen, 893, 1003.

Shell, 231, 837.

Shew, 995.

Shoon, 635.

Should, 482.

Shrewd, 846.

Shrouds, 147.

Shuddering, 802.

Siding, 212.

Simples, 627.

Single, 204.

Sirens, 253, 878.

Sleeking, 882.

Slope, 98.

Solemnity, 142.

Soothest, 823.

Sooth-saying, 874.

Sounds, 115.

Sovran, 41, 639.

Spangled, 1003.

Spell, 154.

Spets, 132.

Sphery, 1021.

Spruce, 985.

Square, 329.

Squint, 413.

Stabled, 534.

Star of Arcady, 341.

State, 35.

Stead, 611.

Step-dame, 830.

Still, 560.

Stoic, 707.

Stops, 345.

Storied, 516.

Straight, 811.

Strook, 301.

Stygian, 132.

Sun-clad, 782.

Sung, 256.

Sure, 148.

Surrounding, 403.

Swain, 497.

Swart, 436.

Swinked, 293.

Sylvan, 268.

Syrups, 674.


Tapestry, 324.

Temple, 461.

Thyrsis, 494.

Timely, 689, 970.

Tinsel-slippered, 877.

To-ruffled, 380.

To seek, 366.

Toy, 502.

Trains, 151.

Treasonous, 702.

Trippings, 961.

Turkis, 894.

Tuscan, 48.

Twain, 284.

Tyrrhene, 49.


Unblenched, 430.

Unenchanted, 395.

Unmuffle, 331.

Unprincipled, 367.

Unweeting, 539.

Unwithdrawing, 711.

Urchin, 845.


Various, 379.

Venturous, 609.

Vermeil-tinctured, 752.

Very, 427.

Vialed, 847.

Viewless, 92.

Violet-embroidered, 233.

Virtue, 165, 621.

Visage, 333.

Vizored, 698.

Votarist, 189.


Wakes, 121.

Warranted, 327.

Wassailers, 179.

Waste, 728, 942.

Weeds, 16.

Welkin, 1015.

What need, 362.

Whilom, 827.

Whit, 774.

Who, 728.

Wily, 151.

Wink, 401.

Wished, 574, 950.

Wizard, 571, 872.

Wont, 332, 549.

Woof, 83.


Ye, 216.


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